Skip to main content

Full text of "Addresses to the German nation. Translated by R.F. Jones and G.H. Turnbull"

See other formats












/  ^  7-  F 




R.    F.   JONES,    M.A. 



G,    H.    TURNBULL,    M.A.,    PH.D. 







Printed  in  Great  Britain  by 



INTRODUCTION        .          .          .          .          .          .      •    .  xi 


FIRST  ADDRESS  :     Introduction  and  General  Survey  .       \^ij 

SECOND  ADDRESS  :     The  General  Nature  of  the  New 

Education          .......        19 

;'    THIRD  ADDRESS  :     Description  of  the  New  Education 

(continued)        ....  .          .        36 

JRTH  ADDRESS^    The  Chief  Difference  between  the 
Germans  and  die  other  Peoples  of  Teutonic  descent     C.  52 

FIFTH  ADDRESS  :     The  Consequences  of  the  Difference 

that  has  been  indicated       .....        72 

SIXTH  ADDRESS  :  German  Characteristics  as  Ex 
hibited  in  History  ......  91 

SEVI-NTH  ADDRESS  :     A  Closer  Study  of  the  Originality 

and  Characteristics  of  a  People  ....      108 

EIGHTH  ADDRESS  :  What  is  a.  People  in  the  Higher 
Meaning  of  the  Word,  and  what  is  Love  of  Father 
land  ? I30 

NINTH  ADDRESS  :  The  Starting-point  that  Actually 
Exists  for  the  New  National  Education  of  the 
Germans  .  .  .  .  .  m  .  152 

TENTH  ADDRESS  :     Further  Definition  of  the  German 

National  Education  .....      i6g 




£/  ELEVENTH  ADDRESS  :     On  whom  will  the  Carrying-out 

of  this  Scheme  of  Education  devolve  ?  .          .187 

TWELFTH  ADDRESS  :     Concerning  the  Means  for  our 

Preservation  until  we  attain  our  Main  Object        .      205 


THIRTEENTH  ADDRESS  :     The    same    subject    further 

considered         .......      223    • 

FOURTEENTH  ADDRESS  :     Conclusion  .          .      248 


THIS  translation  is  based  on  Vogt's  edition  of  Fichte's 
Reden  an  die  deutsche  Nation  in  the  Bibliothek  pada- 
gogischer  Klassiker,  Langensalza,  1896. 

Mr  Jones  is  responsible  for  the  translation  of  Addresses 
4>  5>  6,  7,  8,  12,  13,  and  14,  Dr  Turnbull  for  the  remainder 
and  for  the  introduction,  which  is  intended  primarily 
for  the  general  reader.  Each  of  us,  however,  has  had 
the  benefit  of  the  other's  suggestions  and  criticisms. 
We  have  endeavoured  to  make  the  rendering  of  the  prin 
cipal  technical  terms  uniform  throughout,  and  have 
aimed  at  making  the  translation  intelligible,  while 
keeping  close  to  the  original  German. 

We  desire  to  express  our  deep  gratitude  to  Prof.  E.  T. 
Campagnac  for  originally  suggesting  the  translation,  for 
showing  the  deepest  interest  in  the  work  throughout,  and 
for  reading  part  of  the  MS.  Dr  Turnbull  wishes  also  to 
thank  Miss  E.  Purdie  for  a  number  of  valuable  comments 
on  the  rendering  of  the  first  address. 

R.  F.  J. 
G.  H.  T. 


JOHANN  GOTTLIEB  FICHTE  was  born  on  May  19,  1762, 
at  Rammenau,  a  little  village  in  Upper  Lusatia  between 
Dresden  and  Bautzen.  His  father,  Christian  Fichte, 
married  the  daughter  of  Johann  Schurich,  a  ribbon 
manufacturer  of  the  neighbouring  town  of  Pulsnitz,  to 
whom  he  was  apprenticed,  and  returned  to  settle  with 
his  bride  in  Rammenau,  where  he  managed  to  make  a 
living  by  following  his  trade  as  a  ribbon-weaver.  Johann 
was  the  eldest  of  a  family  of  six  sons  and  one  daughter, 
and  at  an  early  age  showed  signs  of  precocious  intelligence, 
conscientiousness,  and  stubbornness. 

By  a  fortunate  accident  the  young  Johann  came  under 
the  notice  of  Baron  von  Miltitz,  a  neighbouring  land 
owner,  who  took  him  under  his  protection  and  sent  him 
to  be  educated,  first  at  Niederau  by  a  Pastor  Krebel, 
with  whom  he  remained  for  nearly  five  years,  and  then 
in  1774  to  the  well-known  school  at  Pforta  near  Naum- 
burg.  His  patron's  death  early  in  the  same  year  made 
no  difference  to  Fichte's  education,  for  he  received  finan 
cial  support  from  the  relatives  and  friends  of  the  baron 
until  1784,  when  his  allowance  was  stopped  by  the  latter's 
widow.  He  remained  at  Pforta  until  1780,  when  he 
became  a  theological  student  first  at  Jena  and  then  at 
Leipzig.  He  did  not  complete  his  course,  but  spent 
the  years  from  1784  to  1788  as  a  private  tutor  in  various 



families,  being  unable  to  keep  any  post  for  long  owing, 
x/it  is  said,  to  his  proud  temper  and  his  original  ideas  on 
education.  In  1788  he  was  a  tutor  at  Zurich,  where 
he  met  distinguished  men  like  Lavater,  and  had  the  good 
fortune  to  fall  in  love  with  Johanna  Rahn,  the  daughter 
of  the  Inspector  of  weights  and  measures. 

In  March   1790,  on  the  termination  of  his  teaching 
engagement  at  Zurich,  Fichte  went  to  Leipzig  and,  while 
waiting  for  a  suitable  post,  began  to  study  Kant's  philo 
sophy  for  the  first  time,  in  order  to  give  some  lessons  on 
it  to  a  pupil  who  had  asked  for  them.     This  study  revolu-_ 
tionized  his  ideas  and  converted  him  from  determinism^ 
to   a   belief  in   moral  freedom   and  the  inherent   moral 
worth  of  man.     As  a  result  of  this  he  took  the  opportunity 
of  visiting  Kant  at  Konigsberg  in  1791,  after  an  abortive 
journey  to  Warsaw  where  he  had  been  engaged  to  act 
as   private   tutor   to   a   Polish   family.     He  was  warmly 
received  by  the   old  philosopher,  who   approved  of  an 
essay  entitled  Critique  of  all  Revelation,  which  Fichte  had 
written  and  sent  to  him.     This  essay  was  published  in 
1792,  after  Fichte  had  gone,  on  Kant's  recommendation, 
to  Danzig  to  act  as  tutor  to  the  family  of  the  Count  of 
Krockow.     Owing  to  the  publisher  accidentally  omitting 
the  author's  name,  the  essay  was  taken  for  a  work  of  Kant, 
and  Fichte's  reputation  was  made.     As  a  direct  result  of 
this  he  was  able  to  marry  Johanna  Rahn  on  October  22, 


The  tracts  which  the  French  Revolution  inspired 
Fichte  to  write  at  this  time,  and  which  established  the 
rights  of  the  people  on  the  basis  of  the  inherent  moral 
freedom  of  man,  increased  his  fame  ;  but  at  the  same  time 
they  caused  moderate  and  conservative  men  to  regard 
him  as  a  radical  and  dangerous  teacher.  In  spite  of 
this,  however,  he  was  called  to  succeed  Reinhold  as 


Professor  of^Philosophy  at  Jena  in  1794^  Here  he  won 
immediate  success  as  a  lecturer,  owing  undoubtedly  in 
great  measure  to  the  vigour  of  his  thought  and  to  his 
moral  intensity  and  practical  earnestness.  His  enemies, 
however,  especially  the  bigoted  supporters  of  the  tradi 
tional  constitution  and  of  the  established  form  of  religion, 
never  ceased  trying  to  undermine  his  position  and  to 
secure  his  removal.  They  first  complained  that  the 
course  of  general  moral  lectures  which  he  gave  on  Sunday 
mornings  was  an  attempt  to  overthrow  Christianity  and 
to  introduce  the  worship  of  reason  in  its  stead  ;  but, 
meeting  with  no  success,  they  then  attempted  to  turn 
to  his  disadvantage  the  efforts  which  Fichte  was  making 
to  suppress  the  students'  associations.  Throughout  these 
negotiations  Fichte,  who  saw  that  these  associations  were 
productive  of  much  harm,  was  animated  solely  by  the 
desire  to  develop  and  cultivate  the  moral  and  intellectual 
powers  of  his  pupils.  Though  again  unsuccessful,  his 
enemies  did  not  cease  their  attacks,  and  were  at  last 
victorious.  In  an  article  which  appeared  in  the  Philo 
sophical  Journal,  of  which  he  had  been  joint  editor 
since  1795,  Fichte  identified  God  with  the  moral  order 
of  the  universe.  Immediately  his  enemies  raised  the 
cry  of  atheism  against  him  ;  the  Saxon  government 
condemned  the  Journal  and  demanded  Fichte's  expulsion 
from  Jena.  The  Grand  Duke  of  Weimar  would  probably 
have  imposed  merely  a  formal  censure,  but  Fichte  would 
not  submit  to  anything  that  he  thought  encroached 
upon  his  liberty  of  teaching.  He  unwisely  threatened  to 
resign  in  case  of  reprimand,  and  his  resignation  was 
accepted  in  1799,  mucn  to  his  own  discomfiture  and  the 
delight  of  his  enemies. 

From    Jena    Fichte    went    to    Berlin,    where    he    was 
welcomed  by   Schelling,    the    Schlegels,  Schleiermacher, 


and  other  adherents  of  what  is  called  the  romantic 
school.  The  sentimental  atmosphere  and  moral  laxity 
of  this  school,  however,  did  not  suit  his  austere  character 
and  strict  principles,  and  friendship  gradually  changed 
to  coldness  and  ultimately  to  antagonism.  In  1805  he 
was  appointed  Professor  at  Erlangen,  but  the  French 
victories  over  the  Prussians  at  Jena  and  Auerstadt  drove 
him  to  East  Prussia,  where  he  lived  at  Konigsberg  from 
1806  to  1807.  During  his  stay  there  he  studied,  amongst 
other  things,  the  writings  of  Pestalozzi,  whose  Leonard 
and  Gertrude  he  had  read  and  approved  of  as  early  as 
1788,  and  whose  personality  and  teaching  methods  had 
much  impressed  him  at  their  first  meeting  in  1793.  The 
Peace  of  Tilsit  in  July  1807  enabled  him  to  return  to 
^Berlin,  and  during  the  winter  of  1807-1808  he  disclosed 
Ihis  views  on  the  only  true  foundation  of  national  pro- 
|  sperity  in  the  Addresses  to  the  German  Nation  which  he 
7  delivered  in  the  Academy  building  there.  He  also 
drew  up  an  elaborate  and  minute  plan  for  the  proposed 
new  university  at  Berlin,  and  helped  in  its  organization, 
being  appointed  Professor  in  1810  and  Rector  in  1811. 
The  latter  office,  however,  he  resigned  after  holding  it 
for  only  four  months,  his  domineering  manner  preventing 
any  close  co-operation  with  his  colleagues.  In  1814  his 
wife  caught  a  fever  while  attending  sick  and  wounded  in 
Berlin.  Thanks  to  Fichte's  devoted  care  she  recovered, 
but  he  was  himself  stricken  with  the  same  fever  and  died 
on  January  27,  1814. 

Though  short  and  thickset  in  build,  Fichte  had  never 
theless  an  imposing  presence  ;  this  he  undoubtedly 
owed  to  his  sharp  commanding  features,  his  keen  piercing 
eyes,  and  his  high  forehead  surmounted  by  thick  black 
hair.  In  speech  and  movement  alike  he  was  quick, 
impetuous,  decisive,  and  energetic.  Though  inclined 


to  be  too  abstract  and  very  terse,  he  was  a  splendid 
orator.  He  tried  in  every  way  to  win  his  audience  and 
to  make  himself  perfectly  clear  and  intelligible  to  them  ; 
his  voice  was  always  attuned  to  the  sentiments  he  ex 
pressed,  and  his  delivery  never  lacked  clearness  and 
precision.  His  discourse  swept  on  like  the  course  of  a 
tempest,  rousing  rather  than  moving  the  souls  of  his 
hearers  and  stirring  them  to  their  very  depths.  His 
flights  of  imagination  were  great  and  mighty,  and  the 
pictures  he  conjured  up  for  his  listeners,  though  seldom 
charming,  were  always  bold  and  massive  ;  his  writings, 
though  they  contained  little  that  was  particularly  beauti 
ful,  were  always  characterized  by  force  and  weight. 
Appearance,  speech,  action — all  bore  witness  to  -.the 
authority  of  the  man  and  to  the  boldness  and  originality 
of  his  spirit. 

The  most  striking  features  of  Fichte's  character  were 
the  intensity  and  resoluteness  with  which  he  maintained 

.  his  moral  convictions,  and  his  burning  passion  for  activity. 

J  He  loved  the  truth.  In  1792,  at  the  very  outset  of  his 
career,  he  solemnly  declared  that  he  was  devoting  himself 
to  truth,  and  throughout  his  life  he  maintained  that 
truth  was  the  sole  object  of  his  inquiries,  and  that  he 
troubled  himself  very  little  about  what  was  likely  to 
please  his  hearers  or  be  disagreeable  to  them.  As  a 
thinker,  he  sought  first  principles  which  were  indubitably 
certain  ;  as  a  man,  he  loathed  lies,  hated  compliments 
and  flattery,  and  told  everyone  the  truth  to  his  face. 

I  Equally  he  Joved  liberty  ;    his  whole  life  was  spejiL  in 

}•  its  pursuit  and  in  its  defence.  His  honesty  was  trans 
parent,  his  disinterestedness  patent,  and  his  kindness 
proverbial.  As  early  as  1775  he  declared  that  "  a  theft 
is  a  theft  and  remains  a  theft."  He  treated  the  students 
at  Jena  as  honourable  men,  and  understood  how  to 


appeal  to  what  was  best  in  them.  He  refused  to  canvass 
~  for  the  chair  at  Jena,  or  to  use  the  good  offices  of  his 
-  friends  to  clear  away  possible  obstacles.  He  would  not 
take  fees  from  poor  students,  yet  he  always  found  room  for 
them  in  his  classes.  He  befriended  the  distressed  in 
spite  of  the  uncertainty  of  his  own  financial  position, 
and  imposed  no  condition  on  them  save  that  of  absolute 
secrecy.  It  is  not  surprising  that  his  influence  over  the  \f 
students  was  so  powerful,  and  that  his  friendship  was 
regarded  as  an  inestimable  gift.  Nor  is  it  surprising 
that,  strengthened  by  the  consciousness  of  the  loftiest 
moral  convictions,  such  a  man  in  early  life  should  have 
taken  as  his  motto  the  words  which  Horace  used  in  praise 
of  Caesar  Augustus  :— 

Si  fractus  illabatur  orbis, 
Impavidum  ferient  ruinae.1 

He  was  convinced  that  this  world  was  a  land  not  of 
enjoyment,  but  of  labour  and  toil,  and  that  every  joy 
in  life  should  be  only  a  refreshment  and  an  incentive  to 
greater  effort.  He  felt  that  he  must,  therefore,  not  only 
think  but  act,  and  he  confessed  to  one  all-engrossing 
passion,  the  desire  to  influence  and  ennoble  his  fellow- 
men,  declaring  that  the  more  he  acted  the  happier  he 
seemed  to  be.  His  spirit  thirsted  for  opportunity  to 
do  great  things  in  the  world,  to  enable  him  to  purchase 
by  deeds  his  place  in  the  human  race. 

Unfortunately  Fichte  showed  most  of  the  character 
istic  defects  of  these  good  qualities.     He  inherited  from 
his  mother  a  violent  and  impetuous  nature  which  coa- 
/  verted  his  principles  into  passions  and,  coupled,  with  his 
j  absorbing  desire  for  activity,  caused  him  to  berasJi^anOw 
I  tactless.     His  passion  for  the  truth  made  him  suspicious 

1  Odes,  iii,  3,  7-8. 


of  the  sincerity  of  others,  impatient  with  those  who  did 
not  understand  his  teaching,  and  intolerant  towards 
those  who  did  not  admit  its  truth.  Owing  to  the 
fierceness  with  which  he  maintained  his  convictions  he 
always  seemed  despotic,  uncompromising,  and  obstinate  ; 
he  himself  admitted  that  one  of  the  many  qualities  he 
lacked  was  that  of  accommodating  himself  to  those 
around  him  and  to  people  who  were  opposed  to  him  in 
character.  The  rigour  of  his  principles  was  tempered 
by  few  humane  considerations  and  led  men  to  regard 
him  as  harsh  and  difficult.  It  was  undoubtedly  these 
characteristics  which  set  him  at  variance  so  often  with  j 
the  authorities  of  the  Church  and  of  the  State,  and  with  ! 
his  colleagues  at  Jena  and  Berlin,  and  which  allowed 
it  to  be  said  of  him,  when  he  was  Rector  at  the  latter 
place,  that  he  had  no  measure  in  anything,  and  treated 
the  students  for  the  smallest  fault  as  though  they  were 
imps  of  hell.  The  independence  of  his  spirit  caused  him 
to  appear  cold  and  proud  ;  and  the  cavalier  manner  in 
which  he  dealt  with  illustrious  predecessors  and  contem 
poraries,  besides  inducing  Goethe  and  Schillerjto  nickname 
him  the  "  Absolute  Ego  "  and  the  "  Great  Ego,"  earned 
for  him  the  reputation  of  being  conceited,  and  sometimes 
shocked  the  feelings  of  the  most  friendly-disposed 
persons.  Thus  it  was  no  rare  thing  to  hear  him  say  : 
"  Here  Kant,  here  Reinhold  is  wrong,  and  in  this  I  have 
surpassed  them  "  ;  or,  "  No  one  has  understood  Kant ; 
there  is  only  one  way  to  understand  him,  that  which  I 
have  explained." 

He  had  little  finesse,  tact,  or  prudence,  and  could, 
therefore,  seldom  brook  contradiction  or  interference. 
When  attacks  were  made  upon  him  he  was  very  rash 
and  retaliated  in  the  most  provoking  way,  sometimes  even 
letting  himself  go  into  violent  fits  of  passion.  This 


inevitably  aroused  opposition  and  resentment  against 
him,  and  led  him  to  commit  many  blunders,  which  even 
his  best  friends  could  not  deny,  and  which  caused  Schiller 
to  allude  to  him  as  "  the  richest  source  of  absurdities." 
Thus,  when  the  cry  of  atheism  was  raised  against  him  at 
Jena,  the  violent  threatening  letter  which  he  wrote  to 
the  minister,  Voigt,  irritated  the  Weimar  government 
intensely,  alienated  the  sympathies  of  many  influential 
men,  and  effectively  put  an  end  to  all  possibility  of 
retaining  him  at  the  University. 

The  fourteen  Addresses  to  the  German  Nation  were 
delivered  by  Fichte  during  the  winter  of  1807-1808  in 
the  great  hall  of  the  Academy  of  Sciences  in  Berlin  before 
crowded  audiences,  and  were  published  in  April  1808. 
Before  attempting  to  estimate  their  significance  and 
importance,  it  is  necessary  to  consider  the  circumstances 
under  which  they  were  delivered.  In  1 8 o6_ Napoleon 
began  his  ram p^jglLJff  ai n st.  Pmssi a  wh i ch^ aim ost  alone 
among  the  German  States,  still  maintained  its  independ 
ence.  War  was  ^degkregLon  October  Q,  and  on  the  I4th 
the  Prussians  were  severely  defeated  at  Jena  and  Auer- 
stadt.  So  overwhelming  were  these  defeats  that  further 
opposition  was  impossible  ;  on  October  25  Napoleon 
entered  Berlin  and,  one  after  another,  the  Prussian 
fortresses  fell  into  his  hands.  Fichte  left  Berlin  hurriedly 
on  October  18  and  fled  to  East  Prussia,  remaining  at 
Konigsberg  during  the  winter.  The  Russians,  who  had 
come  to  the  aid  of  the  overwhelmed  Prussians,  fought  a 
drawn  battle  with  the  French  at  Eylau  on  February  8, 
1807,  but  were  beaten  at  Friedland  on  June  14,  and 
made  peace  with  France  at  Tilsit  on  July  8,  1807. 
The  net  results  of  the  treaty  for  Prussia  were  that  she 
was  deprived  of  much  of  her  territory  and  was  forced 
to  maintain  French  garrisons  in  her  fortresses,  pay 


large  sums  of  money  to   France,   and  reduce  her  army 
to  42,000  men. 

Fichte  returned  to  Berlin  at  the  end  of  August,  1807, 
to  find  Prussia  completely  humiliated  and  the  French 
troops  still  in  occupation  of  the  city.  Like  many  other 
heroic  souls,  however,  he  could  not  believe  that  all  was-"" 
over  with  Germany  ;  and  just  as  Stein  set  himself  to 
reform  the  land  laws,  and  Scharnhorst  the  military 
organization,  so  Fichte  took  upon  himself  the  task  of 
arousing  the  German  people  to  new  life"  by  his  Addresses^ 
W0  the  German  Nation.  .Such  a  course  demanded  coiv- 
'.jsiderable  courage  and  determination,  for  the  Addresses 
jfmaintained  the  ideals  of  liberty  and  justice  against  the 
despotism  of  Napoleon  in  the  very  face  of  the  French 
army  of  occupation.  Yet  the  attitude  of  the  French 
authorities  to  the  Addresses  was  one  of  complete  indifrer- 
ence  ;  probably,  as  Fichte  said,  they  considered  education  ( 
too  insignificant  and  harmless  a  matter  for  them  to  worry 
about.  _Even  among  Fichte's  fellow-countrymen  there 
were  no  doubt  many  who,  like  the  French  authorities, 
were  completely  indifferent  ;  others  perhaps  did  not 
really  understand  a  good  deal  of  what  the  Addresses 
contained,  and  it  was  probably  the  lecturer's  presence, 
delivery,  and  force  of  character,  as  much  as  what  he  said, 
which  influenced  public  opinion  at  the  time  so  profoundly 
as  to  draw  from  Stein  the  comment  that  the  Addresses 
"  had  a  great  effect  upon  the  feelings  of  the  cultivated 
class."  Whatever  the  real  cause,  however,  it  is  certain 
that  the  Addresses  were  a  powerful  factor  in  the  creation 
of  that  national  spirit  which  appeared  for  the  first  time 
ia.lhe  War  of  Liberation  of  1813-^15. 

Some  of  the  ideas  and  opinions  expressed  in  the  Ad- 

'. ,  dresses  are  obviously  false  and  cannot  be  accepted,  while 

others  are  gross  exaggerations  and  require  considerable 


modification.  Little  comment  need  be  made  on  Fichte's 
conception  of  the  German  language  as  the  sole  living 
language,  or  on  his  notion  of  the  part  that  Germany 
has  played  and  must  still  play  in  the  process  of  the  sal 
vation  of  the  world.  His  whole-hearted  enthusiasm  for 
things  German  inclines  him  at  times  to  regard  everything 
genuinely  German  as  necessarily  good,  and  everything 
.  foreign  as  necessarily  bad.  It  is  obvious  what  evil  results 
}  would  accrue  from  the  logical  development  of  such  a 
conception.  He  greatly  exaggerates  the  part  played  by 
Luther  and  by  Germany  in  the  reformation  of  the 
Church  ;  and  it  may  be  that  his  forecast  of  some  of  the 
good  results  that  would  follow  upon  the  adoption  of  his 
educational  reforms  is  fantastic  and  overdrawn.  The 
fact,  however,  remains  that  these  false  and  exaggerated 
ideas  are  but  small  blemishes  in  the  work ;  they 
are  easily  explained,  if  not  justified,  when  we  consider 
the  desperate  state  of  the  times,  the  exalted  aim  of  the 
lecturer,  the  peculiar  difficulty  of  his  task,  and  his  enthu 
siastic  personality.  In  any  case  they  do  not  affect  to  any 
considerable  extent  the  tremendous  influence  of  the 
Addresses  at  the  time,  and  their  great  importance  for 
the  understanding  of  subsequent  periods, 

It  is  impossible  within  the  limits  of  this  introduction 
to  do  anything  like  justice  to  the  historical  and  political 
importance  of  the  Addresses  both  for  Germany  and  for 
the  world.  It  would  be  a  most  interesting  and  profitable 
study  to  trace,  for  instance,  the  development  and  practical 
consequences  of  Fichte's  idea  of  the  closed  commercial 
State,  or  to  consider  the  influence  of  the  principle  of 
nationality,  which  he  so  emphatically  champions,  upon 
the  course  of  political  development  in  Germany  and  in 
/  the  rest  of  Europe  during  the  nineteenth  century.  Tjp 
.these  and  other  directions  it  would  be  found  that  the 


Addresses    are    of    the    utmost    importance,    and  -fully 
justify  Seeley's  reference  1  to  them  as  "  the  prophetical., 
or  canonical  book  which  announ.cei jind..  explains  a  great  _ 
transition  in  modern  Europe  and  the  prophecies  of  which^ 
began  to  be  fulfilled  immediately  after  its  publication." 
They_  certainly   mark   a   definite   stage   in   the   political 
evolution  of  modern  Germany,  for  in  them  Fichte  appears 
as  one  of  the  founders  of  a  united  Germany,  and  from 
them  date  the  regeneration  of  Prussia  and  the  awakening 
of  a  national  spirit  in  Germany./'  They  mark,  too,  an_ 
epoch  in  the  history  of  the  world,  for  they  show  Fichte 
as  an  apostle  of  the  gospel  of  liberty,  and  proclaim  that 
principle  of  nationality  which  had  far-reaching  effects  on 
the  political  development  of  Europe  in  the  nineteenth 
century  .j 

Nor  is  it  possible  here  to  do  justice  to  their  tremendous 
effect  on  the  development  of  education  in  Germany. 
Stein  was  certainly  influenced,  especially  by  those  Ad 
dresses  which  deal  mainly  with  education  ;  he  became  an 
ardent  advocate  of  the  reforms  urged  by  Fichte,  as  the 
educational  schemes  of  his  ministry  testify.  That  part 
of  his  political  testament  which  concerns  itself  with 
education  seems  also  to  have  been  inspired  by  Fichte's 
influence.2  More  important  still,  however,  is  the  fact 
that  the  Addresses  influenced  Wilhelm  von  Humboldt, 
whose  ideas  and  plans  for  German  education  were  carried 
into  effect  in  1809  and  1810,  and  who  selected  Fichte 
to  be  Professor  of  Philosophy  in  the  new  University  of 
Berlin  in  1 8 10.  Humboldt's  work  laid  the  real  foundations 
of  modern  German  education,  and  it  would  be  interesting 
to  show  how  Fichte's  ideas  helped  to  mould  that  educa 
tion  in  its  origins  and  subsequent  development. 

It  is  not  just  because  of  their  great  significance  in 
1  Life  of  Stein,  ii,  41.  2  Ibid.,  p.  28  ;   cf.  p.  292. 


the  political  and  educational  evolution  of  Germany  and 
of  the  rest  of  Europe,  however,  that  the  Addresses  are 
important  and  demand  attention.     The  ideas  they  con 
tain  are  of  value  to-day  as  they  were  in  1808,  and  are 
i  applicable  not  to  one  country  alone  but  tp  every  nation.1 
1  The  Addresses  are  essentially  modern  both  in  outlook  and 
i  in  content.     This  is  particularly  true  in  regard  to  the 
educational  principles  they  embody,  many  of  which  are 
only  now  being  gradually  accepted  and  put  into  practice. 
On  these  grounds  too,  therefore,  the  views  which  Fichte 
puts  forward  in  his  Addresses  deserve  close  scrutiny  and 
careful  consideration. 

1  It  is  interesting  in  this  connection  to  note  the  conclusion  of  Ebert's 
speech  at  the  opening  of  the  National  Assembly  at  Weimar,  reported  in 
the  Times,  February  8,  1919  :  "  In  this  way  we  will  set  to  work,  our  great 
aim  before  us  :  to  maintain  the  right  of  the  German  nation,  to  lay  the 
foundation  in  Germany  for  a  strong  democracy,  and  to  bring  it  to  achieve 
ment  with  the  true  social  spirit  and  in  the  socialistic  way.  Thus  shall  we 
realize  that  which  Fichte  has  given  to  the  German  nation  as  its  task.  We 
want  to  establish  a  State  of  justice  and  truthfulness,  founded  on  the 
equality  of  all  humanity." 


The  following  books   may  be   recommended   to   the  general 
reader  who  desires  to  know  more  of  Fichte's  life  and  ideas. 

i     a 

THE  POPULAR  WORKS  OF  J.  G.  FICHTE.     Translated,     vvitl 

memoir,    by  William   Smith.     2   vols.     Chapman,   London, 
1848-9.     2nd  edition,  Triibner,  1873. 

THE  VOCATION  OF  MAN.     Translated   by  William   Smith.     2nd 
edition.     Open  Court  Publishing  Co.,  Chicago,  1910. 

FICHTE.     By  R.  Adamson.     Blackwood's  Philosophical  Classics. 
London,  1881. 

FICHTE.     Article,  by  R.  Adamson,  in  Ency.  Brit.,  nth  edition. 
LIFE  AND   TIMES  OF  STEIN.     By  J.    R.    Seeley.     3    vols.    Cam 
bridge  University  Press,  1878. 

FICHTE  ET  SON  TEMPS.     By  X.  Leon.     vol.  i.      Armand  Colin, 
Paris,  1922. 





I.  THE  addresses  which  I  now  commence  I  have  an 
nounced  as  a  continuation  of  the  lectures  which  I  gave 
three  winters  ago  in  this  place,  and  which  were  published 
under  the  title :  "  Characteristics  of  the  Present  Age." 
In  those  lectures  I  showed  that  our  own  age  was  set  in 
the  third^reat^epoch  of  time,1  an  epoch  which  had  as  the 
motive  of  all  its  vital  activities  and  impulses  mere  material  t 
self-seeking  ;  that  this  age  could  comprehend  and  under- 

1  [In  accordance  with  his  fundamental  conception  that  the  aim  of 
human  life  on  earth  is  that  mankind  may  consciously  and  voluntarily 
order  all  its  relations  according  to  reason,  Fichte  distinguishes  five  epochs 
in  the  life  of  the  human  race  :  (i)  that  in  which  those  relations  are  ordered 
by  reason  acting  in  the  human  race  as  blind_  instinct,  i.e.,  without  man 
having  any  insight  into  the  grounds  of  its  activity  ;  (2)  that  in  which  those 
relations  are  ordered  by  reason  acting  as  an  "external  ruling  authority 
upon  the  human  race  through  its  more  powerful  individual  members, 
in  whom  reason  appears  as  the  desire  to  raise  the  whole  race  to  their  level 
by  compelling  blind  faith  and  unconditional  obedience  ;  (3)  that  in  which 
mankind  frees  itself,  directly  from  the  rule  of  reason  as  an  external  ruling 
authority,  indirectly  from  the  dominion  of  reason  as  instinct,  and  generally 
from  reason  in  any  form,  and  gives  itself  over  to  absolute  indifference 
towards  all  truth  and  to  unrestrained  licentiousness  ;  (4)  that  in  which 
mankind  becomes  conscious  of  reason  and  understands  its  laws  with  clear 
scientific  knowledge  ;  (5)  that  in  which  mankind,  with  clear  conscious 
ness  and  by  its  own  free  act,  orders  all  its  relations  in  accordance  with  the 
laws  of  reason.  See  Lectures  I.  and  II.  on  the  Characteristics  of  the 
Present  Age  in  Smith's  translation  of  Fichte's  Popular  Works.] 



stand  itself  completely  only  by  recognising  that  as  the 
sole  possible  motive  ;  and,  finally,  that  by  this  clear  per 
ception  of  its  own  nature  it  was  becoming  deeply  rooted 
and  Immovably  fixed  in  this  its  natural  state  of  existence. 

Time  is  taking  giant  strides  with  us  more  than  with 
any  other  age  since  the  history  of  the  world  began.  At 
some  point  within  the  thre£years  that  have  gpne_by, since 
my  interpretation  of  the  present  age  that  epoch  has 
come  tojm  end.  At  some  point  self-seeking  has  destroyed 
itself,  because  by  its  own  complete  development^  has 
lost  its  self  and  the  independence  of  that  self ;  and  since 
it  would  not  voluntarily  set  itself  any  other  aim  but  self, 
an  external  powe£has  forced  upon  it  another  and  a  foreign 
purpose.  He  who  has  once  undertaken  to  interpret  his 
own  age  must  make  his  interpretation  keep  pace  with  the 
progress  of  that  age,  if  progress  there  be.  It  is,  there 
fore,  my  duty  to  acknowledge  as  past  what  has  ceased  to 
be  the  present,  before  the  same  audience  to  whom  I 
characterized  it  as  the  present. 

2.  Whatever  has  lost  its  independence  has  at  the  same' 
time  lost  its  power  to  influence  the  course  of  events  and 
to  determine  these  events  by  its  own  will.  If  it  remain 
in  this  statejis  age,  and  itself  with  the  age,  are  conditioned 
in  their  development  by  that  alien  power  which  governs 
its  fate.  From  now  onwards  it  has  no  longer  any  time  of 
its  own,  but  counts  its  years  by  the  events  and  epochs  of 
alien  nations  and  kingdoms.  From  this  state,  in  which 
all  its  past  world  is  removed  from  its  independent  in 
fluence  and  in  its  present  world  only  the  merit  of  obed 
ience  remains  to  it,  it  could  raise  itself  only_ori  condition 
that  a  ne^sL world  should  arise  for  it^.  the  creation  of  which 
would  begin,  and  its  development  fill,  a  new  epoch  of 
its  own  in  history.  But,  since  it  has  once  fallen  under 
alien  power,  this  new  world  must  be  so  constituted  that 


it  remains  unperceived  by  that  power,  that  it  does  not 
in  any  way  arouse  its  jealousy  ;  nay  more,  that  the  alien 
power  itself  is  induced  by  its  own  interest  to  put  no 
obstacle  in  the  way  of  the  formation  of  such  a  world. 
Now  if,  for  a  race  which  has  lost  its  former  self,  its  former 
age  and  world,  such  a  world  should  be  created  as  the  means 
of  producing  a  new  self  ancfa~new  age,  a  thorough  inter 
pretation  of  such  a  possible  age  would  have  to  give  an 
account  of  the  world  thus  created. 

Now  for  my  part  I  maintain  that  there  is  such  a  world, 
and  it  is  the  aim  of  these  addresses  'to  show  you  its  exist 
ence  and  its  true  owner,  to  bring  before  your  eyes  a  living 
picture  of  it,  and_to  indicate  the  means  of  creating  it. 
In  this  sense,  therefore,  these  addresses  will  be  a  con 
tinuation  of  the  lectures  previously  given  on  the  then 
•  existing  age,  because  they  will  reveal  the  new  era  which    j 
can    and   must    directly   follow   the_  destruction   of   the.    \ 
kingdom  of  self-seeking  by  an  alien  power.  __ 

3.  But,  before  I  begin  this  task,  I  must  ask  you  to  assume  "~ 
the   following   points    so    that   they   never   escape  your 
memory,  and  to  agree  with  me  upon  them  wherever  and 
in  so  far  as  this  is  necessary. 

j     (a)  I  speak  for  Germans  simply,  of  Germans  simply, 
I  not  recognizing,  but  settim^aside  completely  and  rejecting,*\ 
(all  the  dissociating  distinctions  which  for  centuries  un=-J 
I  happy  events  have  caused  in  this  single  nation^-   You, 
f  gentlemen,  are  indeed  to  my  outward  eye  the  first  and 
immediate  representatives    who   bring  before  my  mind 
the  beloved  national  characteristics,  and  are  the  visible     / 
spark  at  which  the  flame  of  my  address  is  kindled.     But 
my  spirit  gathers  round  it  the  educated  part  of  the  whole 
German  nation,  from  all  the  lands  in  which  they  are  ^ 
scattered.     It    thinks    ol    an~3 considers    our    common    p 

josition^aric^  relations ;  it  longs  that  part  ol  the  living 



force,  with  which  these  addresses  may  chance  to  grip 
you,  may  also  remain  in  and  breathe  from  the  dumb 
printed  page  which  alone  will  come  to  the  eyes  of  the 
absent,  and  may  in  all  places  kindle  German  hearts  to 
deckion_and  '  action.  Only  of  (jermans~aiT3r^simply  for 
Germans,  I  said.  In  due  course  we  shall  show  that  any 
other  mark  of  unity  or  any  other  national  bond  either 
never  had  truth  and  meaning  or,  if  it  had,  that  owing  to 
our  present  position  these  bonds  of  union  have  been 
destroyed  and  torn  from  us  and  can  never  recur  ;  jt_js 
only  by  means  of  the  common  characteristic  of  being 
German  that  we  can  avert  the  downfall  of  our  natjon 
which  is  threatened  by  its  fusion  with  foreign  peoples, 
and  win  back  again  an  individuality  that  is  self-supporting 
and  quite  incapable  of  any  dependence  upon  others. 
With  our  perception  of  the  truth  of  this  statement  its 
apparent  conflict  (feared  now,  perhaps,  by  many)  with 
other  duties  and  with  matters  that  are  considered  sacred 
will  completely  vanish. 

Therefore,  as  I  speak  jmly  of  ^Germans_in_  general,  I 
shall  proclaim  that  many  things  concern  us  which  do  not 
apply  in  the  first  instance  to  those  assembled  here,  just 
as  I  shall  pronounce  as  the  concern  of  all  Germans  other 
things  which  apply  in  the  first  place  only  to  us.  In  the 
spirit,  of  which  these  addresses  are  the  expression,  I 
I  perceive  that  organic  unity  in  which  no  member  regards 
the  fate  of  another  as  the  fate  of  a  stranger.  JTbehold 
that  unity  (which  shall  and  must  arise  if  we  are  not  to 


I  existing. 

"\/  (b)  I  assume  as  hearers  not  such  Germans  as  are  in 
their  whole  nature  completely  given  over  to  a  feeling  of 
ss  they  have  suffered,  who  take  comfort  in 

this  pain,  luxuriate  in  their  disconsolate  grief,  and  think 


thereby  to  compromise  with  the  call  that  summons  them 
to  action  ;    but  I  assume  such  Germans  as  have  already 
risen,  or  at  least  are  capable  of  rising,  above  this  justifiable 
pain    to    clear   thought    and    meditation.— I    know    that 
pain  ;    I  have  felt  it  as  much  as  anyone  ;    I  respect  it. 
Apathy,  which  is  satisfied  if  it  find  meat  and  drink  and  be 
not  subjected  to  bodily  pain,  and  for  which  honour,  free 
dom,  and  independence  are  empty  names,  is  incapable  of 
it.     Pain,  however,  exists  merely  to  spur  us  on  to  reflec-   - 
tion^  decision.,  a"ncT  act  ion.  Jf  it  fails  in   this  ultimate 
purpose,  it  robs  us  of  reflection  and  of  all  our  remaining 
powers,  and  so  completes  our  misery  ;    while,  moreover, 
as   witness   to   our   sloth   and   cowardice,   it   affords   the 
visible  proof  that  we  deserve  our  misery.     But  I  do  not  \ 
in  the  least  intend  to  lift  you  above  this  pain  by  holding  \ 
out  hopes  of  any  help  which  will  come  to  you  from  out 
side,  and  by  indicating  all  kinds  of  possible  events  and  / 
changes  which  time  may  perchance  bring  about.     For 
even  if  this  attitude  of  mind,  which  prefers  to  roam  in 
the  shifting  world  of   possibilities  rather   than   to   stick 
to  what  must  be  done,  and  would  rather  owe  its  salva 
tion  to  blind  chance  than  to  itself,  did  not  already  in 
itself  afford  evidence,  as  it  really  does,  of  the  most  criminal 
levity  and  of  the  deepest   self-contempt,  yet   all  hopes 
and  indications  of  this  kind  have  absolutely  no  applica 
tion  to  our  position.     Strict  proof  can,  and  in  due  course 
will,  be  given  that  no  man  and  no  god  and  not  one  of  all  _ 
the  events  that  are  within  the  bounds  of  possibility  can 
help  us,  but  that  we  alone  must  help  ourselves  if  help  is^"" 
to  come  to  us.     Rather  shall  I  try  to  lift  you  above  that 
pain  by  clear  perception  of  our  position,  of  our  yet  remain 
ing  strength,  and  of  the  means  of  our   salvation.  _For 
that  purpose  I  shall,  it  is  true,  demand  of  you  a  certain  " 
amount  of  reflection,  some  spontaneous  activity,  and  some 


sacrifice,  and  reckon  therefore  on  hearers  of  whom  so  much 
may  be  expected.  The  demands  I  make,  however,  are  on 
the  whole  easy,  and  presuppose  no  greater  amount  of 
strength  than  one  may,  I  think,  expect  of  our  age  ;  as 
for  danger,  there  is  absolutely  none. 

(c)  Since  I  intend  to  give  the  Germans,  as  such,  a  clear 
view  of  their  present  position,  I  shall  assume  ^asjhearers 
such  as  are  dispo^e_cLto__se^_thin^s_j3f  this  sort  with  their 
ownjpyes^and  by  no  means  such  as  find  it  easier  in  their 
consideration  of  these  matters  to  have  foisted  upon  them 
a  strange  and  foreign  eyeglass,  which  is  either  deliber 
ately  intended  to  deceive,  or  never  properly  suits  a  Ger 
man  eye,  becausTTrtas  a  different  angle  of  vision  and  is 
not_fine_  enough.  Moreover,  I  presuppose  that  such 
hearers,  when  looking  at  these  things  with  their  own 
eyes,  will  have  the  courage  to  look  honestly  at  what  does 
exist  and  to  admit  candidly  to  themselves  what  they  see, 
and  that  they  either  have  conquered  already,  or  at  least 
are  capable  of  conquering,  'tEe~~tehdency  (frequently 
manifested)  to  deceive  oneself  concerning  one's  own 
affairs,  and  to  present  to  the  jnind  a  less  displeasing 
picture  o£_them  than  is  consistent  with  the  truth.  This 
tendency  is  a  cowardly  flight  from  one's  own  thoughts ; 
and  it  is  a  childish  attitude  of  mind  which  seems  to 
believe  that,  if  only  it  does  not  see  its  misery,  or  at  least 
does  not  admit  that  it  sees  it,  this  misery  will  thereby 
be  removed  in  reality,  even  as  it  is  removed  in  thought. 

n  the  other  hand,  it  is  manly  courage  to  look  evil  full  in 
the  face,  to  compel  it  to  make  a  stand,  to  scrutinize  it 
calmly,  coolly,  and  freely,  and  to  resolve  it  into  its  com 
ponent  parts.  Moreover,  by  this  clear  perception  alone 
is  it  possible  to  master  evil  and  to  proceed  with  sure  step 
in  the  fight  against  it.  For  the  man  who  sees  the  whole 
in  each  part  always  knows  where  he  stands,  and  is  sure 


of  his  ground  by  reason  of  the  insight  he  has  once  gained  ; 
whereas  another  man,  lacking  sure  clue  or  definite  cer 
tainty,  gropes  blindly  in  a  dream. 

Why,  then,  should  we  be  afraid  of  this  clear  perception  ? 
Evil  does  not  become  less  through  ignorance,  nor  increase 
through  knowledge  ;  indeed  it  is  only  by  the  latter  that 
it  can  be  cured.  But  the  question  of  blame  shall  not  be 
raised  here.  Let  sloth  and  self-seeking  be  censured  with 
bitter  reprimand,  with  biting  sarcasm  and  cutting  scorn, 
and  let  them  be  provoked,  if  to  nothing  better,  at  least 
to  bitter  hatred  of  him  who  gives  the  reminder — such 
hatred  is  at  any  rate  a  powerful  impulse  ;  let  this  be  done, 
so  long  as  the  inevitable  result,  the  evil,  is  not  fully  accom 
plished,  and  so  long  as  salvation  or  mitigation  may  still 
be  expected  from  any  improvement.  But,  when  this 
evil  is  so  complete  that  we  are  deprived  of  even  the  pos 
sibility  of  sinning  again  in  the  same  way,  it  is  useless  and 
looks  like  malicious  joy  to  continue  to  rail  against  a  sin 
that  can  no  longer  be  committed.  The  consideration  < 
immediately  drops  out  of  the  sphere  of  ethics  into  that 
of  history,  for  which  freedom  is  ended,  and  which  regards 
an  event  as  the  inevitable  consequence  of  what  has  gone 
before.  For  our  addresses  there  remains  no  other  view 
of  the  present  than  this  last,  and  we  shall  therefore  never 
adopt  any  other.  ^v 

This  attitude  of  mind,  therefore,  that  we  consider 
ourselves  simply  Germans,  that  we  be  not  held  captive 
even  by  pain  itself,  that  we  wish  to  see  the  truth  and  have 
the  courage  to  look  it  in  the  face,  I  presuppose  and  reckon 
upon  in  every  word  that  I  shall  say.  If,  therefore,  any-' 
one  should  bring  another  attitude  of  mind  to  this  meeting, 
he  would  have  to  attribute  solely  to  himself  the  unpleasant 
feelings  which  might  be  caused  him  here.  Let  this  then 
be  said  once  for  all,  and  finished  with.  I  proceed  now 


to  my  other  task,  namely,  to  put  before  you  in  a 
general  survey  the  contents  of  all  the  addresses  that  are 
to  follow. 

4.  At  some  point,  I  said  at  the  beginning  of  my  address, 
self-seeking  has  destroyed  itself  by  its  own  complete 
development,  because  thereby  if  hasjtost  its  self  and  the 
power  of  fixing  its  aims  independently.  This  destruction 
of  self-seeking,  now  accomplished,  constitutes  both  that 
progress  of  the  age  which  I  have  mentioned  and  the  com 
pletely  new  ^  event  which,  in  my  opinion,  has  made  a 
continuation  of  my  previous  description  of  that  age  both 
possible  and  necessary.  This  destruction  would,  therefore, 
be  our  real  present,  to  which  our  new  life  in  a  new  world 
(the  existence  of  which  I  likewise  maintained)  would  have 
to  be  directly  linked.  It  would,  therefore,  be  also  the 
proper  starting-point  for  my  addresses,  and  I  should  have 
to  show  above  all  how  and  why  such  a  destruction  of 
self-seeking  must  result  inevitably  from  its  highest  develop- 
1  ment. 

*  Self-seeking  is  most  highly  developed  when,  after  it  has 

•  first  affected,  with  insignificant  exceptions,  the  whole  body 
of  subjects,  it  thereupon  masters  the  rulers  and  becomes 
their  sole  motive  in  life.     In  such  a  government  there  , 
arises  first  of  all,  outwardly,  the  neglect  of  all  the  ties  by  j 
which  its  own  safety  is  bound  up  with  the  safety  of  other  * 
States,  the  abandoning  of  the  whole,  of  which  it  is  a  part, 
solely  in  order  that  it  may  not  be  roused  from  its  slothful 

Asleep,  and  the  sad  illusion  of  self-seeking  that  it  has  peace, 
)••  if  only  its  own  frontiers  are  not  attacked  ;  then,  inwardly, 
(that   feeble  handling  of  the  reins  of  State  which   calls 
itself  in  alien  words  humanity,  liberality,  and  popularity, 
but  which  in  German  is  more  j^uiy_£aJlecLslackness  and 
unworthy  conduct. 

When  it  masters  the  rulers  too,  I  said.     A  people  can 


be    completely    corrupted,    i.e.,   self-seeking  —  for    self- 
seeking  is  the  root  of  all  other_corruptipn-— and  yet  at 
the   same   time   not    only   endure,    but    even   outwardly 
accomplish  splendid  deeds,  provided  only  that  its  govern 
ment  be  not  also  corrupt.     Indeed,  the  latter  may  even 
outwardly  act  treacherously,  disloyally,  and  dishonourably, 
if  only  it  have  inwardly  the  courage  to  hold  on  to  the 
reins  of  government  with  a  strong  hand  and  to  win  for 
itself  the  greater  fear.     But  where  all  the  circumstances 
I    have    mentioned    are    combined,   the   commonwealth' "- 
collapses  at  the  first  serious  attack  which  is  made  upon 
it,  and  just    as   it   first  disloyally  severed  itself  from  the  7*Li 
body  of  which  it  was  a  member,  so  now  its  own  members,  f)L** 
who  are  restrained  by  no  fear  of  it  and  are  spurred  on  by  the 
greater  fear  of  a  foreign  power,  cut  themselves  off  from 
it  with  the  same  disloyalty  and  go  each  his  own  way. 
At  this,  the  greater  fear  once  more  seizes  those  who  now 
remain  isolated ;  and  where  they  gave  sparingly  and  most 
unwillingly  to  the  defender  of  their  country,  to  the  enemy 
they  give  abundantly  and  with  a  forced  look  of  cheer 
fulness.     Later  on,  the  rulers,  abandoned  and  betrayed 
on  all  sides,  are  compelled  to  purchase  their  further  exis 
tence  by  submission  and  obedience  to  foreign  schemes ; 
and  so  those,  who  in  battle  for  their  country  threw  away 
their  arms,  now  learn  to  wield  those  same  arms  bravely 
under    foreign    colours    against    their    mother  -  country. 
Thus  it  comes  about  that  self-seeking  is  destroyed  by  its\ 
own  complete  development  ;    and  upon  those  who  would     1 
not  voluntarily  set  themselves  any  other  aim  but  self,    j 
another  aim  is  imposed  by  alien  power.  / 

5.  No  nation  which  has  sunk  into  this  state  of  depend 
ence  can  raise  itself  out  of  it  by  the  means  which  have 
usually  been  adopted  hitherto.  Since  resistance  was  use 
less  to  it  when  it  was  still  in  possession  of  all  its  powers, 


what  can  such  resistance  avail  now  that  it  has  been 
deprived  of  the  greater  part  of  them  ?  What  might 
previously  have  availed,  namely,  if  its  government  had 
held  the  reins  strongly  and  firmly,  is  now  no  longer  appli 
cable,  because  these  reins  now  only  appear  to  rest  in 
its  hand,  for  this  very  hand  is  steered  and  guided  by  an 
alien  hand.  Such  a  nation  can  no  longer  depend  upon 
^ffi^.-flfl^  ^  r^"™^y  ag  little  on  the  rnnqnernr.,  who  would 
be  just  as  thoughtless,  just  as  cowardly  and  weak  as  that 
nation  itself  once  was,  if  he  did  not  hold  fast  to  the  advan 
tages  he  had  won,  and  exploit  them  in  every  way.  Or  if  in 
course  of  time  he  were  ever  to  become  so  thoughtless  and 
cowardly,  he  also  would  perish,  like  ourselves ;  but  not 
to  our  advantage,  for  he  would  be  the  prey  of  another 
conqueror,  and  we,  as  a  matter  of  course,  the  insignificant 
addition  to  that  prey.  If^Jiowever,  a  nation  so  fallen 
<were  to  be  able  to  save  herself,  it  would  have  to  be  by 
j  means  of  something  completely  new  and  never  previously 
I  employed,  namely,  by  the  creation  of  a  totally  new  order 
/  of  things.  Let  us  see,  therefore,  what  in  the  previously 
u  existing  order  of  things  was  the  reason  why  such  an 
order  had  inevitably  to  come  to  an  end  at  some  time  or 
other,  so  that  in  the  opposite  of  this  reason  for  its  down 
fall  we  may  find  the  new  element  which  must  be  intro 
duced  into  the  age,  in  order  that  by  its  means  the  fallen 
nation  may  rise  to  a  new  life. 

6.  On  investigating  this  reason  we  find  that  in  every 
previous  system  of  government  the  interest  of  the  indi 
vidual  in  the  community  was  linked  to  his  interest  in 
himselfjby^  ties,  which  at  some  point  were  so  completely 
severed  that  his  interest  in  the  community  absolutely 
ceas_ed.  Thesejties  were  those_of.fear  and  hope  concern 
ing  the  interests  of  the  individual  in  relation  to  the  fate 
of  the  community — both  in  the  present  and  in  some 


future  life.     The  enlightenment  of  the  understanding, 
with  its  purely  material  calculations,  was  the  force  which 
destroyed  the  connection  established  by  religion  between 
some  future  life  and  the  present,  and  which  at  the  same 
time  conceived  that  such  substitutes    and    supplements 
of  the  moral  sense  as  love  of  fame  and  national  honour 
were   but   illusory   phantoms.     It   was   the   weakness   ofs 
governments  which  removed  the  individual's  fear  for  his  <  &  •*•*-  • 
own  interests  even  in  this  life  (in  so  far  as  they  depended  , 
upon  his  behaviour  towards  the  community)  by  frequently  j     CJ^ 
allowing  neglect  of  duty  to  go  unpunished.     Similarly,     *> 
it  rendered  the  motive  of  hope  ineffective  by  satisfying 
it  frequently  on  quite  different  grounds  and  principles, 
without   heed   to   services   rendered   to   the   community. 
Such  were  the  ties  which  at  some  point  were  complete/y 
severed ;  and  it  was  this  severance  that  caused  the  breaking- 
up  of  the  commonwealth. 

Henceforth  it  matters  not  how  industriously  the  con-  «  ^j- 
queror  may  do  that  which  he  alone  can  do,  namely,  ,j^ 
link  up  again  and  strengthen  the  latter  part  of  the  binding 
tie — fear  and  hope  for  this  present  life.  He  alone  will 
profit  thereby,  and  not  we  at  all ;  for  so  surely  as  he  per 
ceives  his  advantage  will  he  link  to  this  renewed  bond  first 
and  foremost  only  his  own  interests.  Ours  he  will  further 
only  in  so  far  as  their  preservation  can  serve  as  a  means 
to  his  own  ends.  For  a  nation  so  ruined,  fear  and  hope 
are  henceforth  completely  destroyed,  because  control 
over  them  has  now  slipped  from  her  hands,  and  because 
she  herself  indeed  has  to  fear  and  hope,  but  no  one  hence 
forth  either  fears  her  or  hopes  for  aught  from  her.  There 
remains  nothing  for  her  but  to  find  an  entirely  different 
and  new  binding  tie  that  is  superior  to  fear  and  hope,  in_ 
order  to  link  up  the  welfare  of  her  whole  being:  with  the 

^. .. -t- — •  o 

self-interest  of  each  of  her  members. 


7.  Above  the  material  motive  of  fear  or  hope,  and 
bordering  immediately  upon  it,  there  is  the  spiritual 
motive  of  moral  approval  or  disapproval,  and  the  higher 
feeling  of  pleasure  or  displeasure  at  the  condition  of  our 
selves  and  of  others.  The  physical  eye,  when  accustomed 
'  to  cleanliness  and  order,  is  troubled  and  distressed,  as 
though  actually  hurt,  by  a  spot  which  indeed  causes  the 
body  no  actual  injury,  or  by  the  sight  of  objects  lying  in 
chaotic  confusion  ;  while  the  eye  accustomed  'to  dirt  and 
disorder  is  quite  comfortable  under  such  circumstances. 
So,  too,  the  inner  mental  eye  of  man  can  be  so  accustomed 
and  trained  that  the  very  sight  of  a  muddled  and  dis 
orderly,  unworthy  and  dishonourable  existence  of  its  own 
or  of  a  kindred  race  causes  it  intense  pain,  apart  from 
anything  there  may  be  to  fear  or  to  hope  from  this  for 
its  own  material  welfare.  This  pain,  apart  again  from 
material  fear  or  hope,  permits  the  possessor  of  such  an 
eye  no  rest  until  he  has  removed,  in  so  far  as  he  can,  this 
condition  which  displeases  him,  and  has  set  in  its  place 
that  which  alone  can  please  him.  /For  the  possessor  of 
such  an  eye,  because  of  this  stimulating  feeling  of  approval 
or  disapproval,  the  welfare  of  his  whole  environment  is 
bound  up  inextricably  with  the  welfare  of  his  own  wider 
/  self,  which  is  conscious  of  itself  only  assart  of  the  whole 
I  and  can  ^endure. Itself  only  when  the  whole"  is  ^pleasing. 
To  educate  itself  to  possess"sucnan  eye  will,  therefore,, 
be  assure  meafl.5,  and'^Hdeed  the_only_jneans  left  to  a 
I  nation  which  has  lost  her  independence  and  with  it  all 
influence  over  public  fear  and  hope,  of  rising  again  into 
life  fromjdi^j^itiuclioji^lirhRS  suffered,  and  of  entrusting 
her  national  welfare,  which  since  her  downfall  neither 
God  nor  man  has  heeded,  with  confidence  to  this  new 
and  higher  feeling  that  has  arisen.  _It  follows,  then,  .tijat 
(the  means  of  salvation  which  I  promised  to  indicate  con^ 


of  an  entirely  new  self  ?  which  niayj^ 
have  existed  before  perhaps  in  individuals  as  an  exception7 
Fut  never  as  a  /tnriversalTa^^  and  in  the  _ 

education  of  the  nation,  whose  former  life  has  died  out 
and  become  jthe^supplement  of  an  alien  life,  to  a  com 
pletely  new  life,  which  shall  either  remain  her  exclusive    ''  __ 
possession   or,   if  it   must  go  forth  from  her   to   others,  - 
shall  at  least  continue  whole  and  undiminished  in  spite  __ 
,of  infinite  "division.  _Jn  a  word,  it  is   a  total  change  of  ._ 

'  the  existing  system  of  education  that  I  propose  as  the 
sole  means"  oi  preserving  the  existence^of  the  German  . 

.nation,  y 

8.  That  children  must  be  given  a  good  education  has 
been  said  often  enough,  and  has  been  repeated  too  often 
even  in  our  age  ;  and  it  would  be  a  paltry  thing  if  we,  too, 
for  our  part  wished  to  do  nothing  but  say  it  once  again. 
Rather  will  it  be  our  duty,  in  so  far  as  we  think  we  can 

[   accomplish  something  new,  to  investigate  carefully  and 

\  definitely  what  education  hitherto  has  really  lacked,  and 
to  suggest  what  completely  new  element  a  reformed 

i  system  must  add  to  the  training  that  has  hitherto  existed. 
After  such  an  investigation  we  must  admit  that  the 
existing  education  does  not  fail  to  bring  before  the  eyes 
of  the  pupils  some  sort  of  picture  of  a  religious,  moral,  and 
law-abiding  disposition  and  of  order  in  all  things  and  good 
habits,  and  also  that  here  and  there  it  has  faithfully  ex 
horted  them  to  copy  such  pictures  in  their  lives.  With 
very  rare  exceptions,  however  —  and  these  were,  moreover, 
not  the  outcome  of  this  education  (because  otherwise  they 
must  have  appeared,  and  that  too  as  the  rule,  amongst 
all  who  received  such  instruction),  but  were  occasioned 
by  other  causes  —  with  these  very  rare  exceptions,  I  say, 
the  pupils  of  this  education  have  in  general  followed, 
not  those  moral  ideas  and  exhortations,  but  the  imputes 


of  self-seeking  which  developed  in  them  spontaneously 
and  without  any  assistance  from  education.     This  proves 
beyond  dispute  that  the  system  may,  indeed,  have  been 
able  to  fill  the  memory  with  some  words  and  phrases 
and  the  cold  and  indifferent  imagination  with  some  faint 
and  feeble  pictures ;  but  that  it  has  never  succeeded  in 
making  its  picture  of  a  moral  world-order  so  vivid  that  the 
pupil  was  filled  with  passionate  love  and  yearning  for  that 
order,  and  with  such  glowing  emotion  as  to  incite  him 
j  to  realize  it  in  his  life — emotion  before  which  self-seeking 
[falls  to  the  ground  like  withered  leaves.     It  also  proves 
this  education  to  have  been  far  from  reaching  right  down 
to  the  roots  of  real  impulse  and  action  in  life,  and  from 
!  training  them;    for  these  roots,  neglected  by  this  blind 
j  and  impotent  system,  have  everywhere  developed  wild, 
I  as  best   they  could,  yielding  good  fruit  in  a  few  who 
I  were  inspired  by  God,  but  evil  fruit  in  the  majority. 
It  is  for  the  present,  then,  quite  sufficient  to  describe  this 
education  by  these  its  results,  and  for  our  purpose  we 
can  spare  ourselves  the  wearisome  task  of  analysing  the 
inner  sap  and  fibre  of  a  tree  whose  fruit  is  now  fully  ripe 
and  lies  fallen  before  the  eyes  of  all,  proclaiming  most 
clearly   and   distinctly   the   inner   nature   of  its   creator. 
Strictly   speaking,    according   to    this    view,  the  present 
system  has  been  by  no  means  the  art  of  educating  men. 
/"This,  indeed,  it  has  not  boasted  of  doing,  but  has  very 
/  often  frankly  acknowledged  its  impotence  by  demanding 
I    to  be  given  natural  talent  or  genius  as  the  condition  of 
I    its  success.     Rather  does  such  an  art  remain  to  be  dis 
covered,  and  this  discovery  should  be  the  real  task  of 
the  new  education.     What  was  lacking  in  the  old  system —  , 
namely,  an  influence  penetrating  to  the  roots  of  vital  I 
impulse   and   action — the   new   education    must    supply.  I 
f    Accordingly,  as  the  old  system  was  able  at  best  to  train 


some  part  of  man,  so  the  new  must  train 'man  himself, 
and  must  make  the  training  given,  not,  as  hitherto,  the 
pupil's  possession,  but  an  integral  part  of  himself.  &* 

9.  Moreover,    education,    restricted   in   this   way,   has 
been  brought  to  bear  hitherto  only  on  the  very  small 
minority  of  classes  which  are  for  this  reason  called  educated, 
whereas  the  great  majority  on   whom  in  very  truth  the 
commonwealth    rests,    the    people,    have    been    almost 
entirely  neglected  by  this  system  and  abandoned  to  blind 

chance.     By  means  of  the  new  education  we  want  to 

_,,  * — ' .-  _r  __ , 

mould  the  Germans  into  a  corporate  body,  which  shall _ 
be  stimulated  and  animated  in  all  its  individual  members 
by  the  same  interest.  If  by  this  means  we  wanted,  indeed, 
to  mark  off  an  educated  class,  which  might  perhaps  be 
animated  by  the  newly  developed  motive  of  moral  appro 
val,  from  an  uneducated  one,  then  the  latter  would  desert 
us  and  be  lost  to  us  ;  because  the  motives  of  hope  and  fear, 
by  which  alone  influence  might  be  exercised  over  it,  would 
work  no  longer  with  us  but  against  us.  _Sp_ there  is  nothing 
left  for  us  but  just  to  apply  the  new  system  to  every 
German  without  exception,  so  that  it  is  not  the  education, 
of  a  single  class,  but  the  education  of  the  nation,  simply 
as  such  and  without  excepting  any  of  its  individual  mem- 
bers._  In  this,  that  is  to  say  in  the  training  of  man, to 
take  real  pleasure  in  what  is  right,  all  distinction  of  classes, 
which  may  in  the  future  find  a  place  in  other  branches 
of  development,  will  be  completely  removed  and  vanish. 
In__this  way  there  will  grow  up  among  us, .  not  popular 
education,  but  real  German  national  education. 

10.  I  shall  prove  to  you  that  a  system  of  education 
such  as  we   desire  has   actually  been  discovered  and  is 
already  being  practised,  so  that  we  have  nothing  to  do 
but  to  accept  what  is  offered  us.     As  I  promised  you  con 
cerning  the   means  of  salvation   that   I  should  propose, 


this  demands  undoubtedly  no  greater  amount  of  energy 
than  can  reasonably  be  expected  of  our  generation.  To 
that  promise  I  added  another,  namely,  that  so  far  as 
danger  is  concerned  there  is  none  at  all  in  our  proposal, 
because  the  self-interest  of  the  power  that  rules  over  us 
demands  that  the  carrying-out  of  such  a  proposal  should 
be  assisted  rather  than  hindered.  I  consider  it  appro 
priate  to  speak  my  mind  clearly  on  this  point  at,  once  in 
this  first  address. 

It  is  true  that  in  ancient  as  in  modern  times  the  arts 
of  corrupting  and  of  morally  degrading  the  conquered 
have  very  frequently  been  used  with  success  as  a  means 
of  ruling.  By  lying  fictions,  and  by  skilful  confusion  of 
ideas  and  of  language,  princes  have  been  libelled  to  the 
people,  and  peoples  to  princes,  in  order  that  the  two 
parties,  because  of  their  dissension,  might  the  more  surely 
be  controlled.  All  the  impulses  of  vanity  and  of  self- 
interest  have  been  cunningly  aroused  and  fostered,  so 
as  to  make  the  conquered  contemptible,  and  thus  to  crush 
them  with  something  like  a  good  conscience.  But  it 
would  be  a  fatal  error  to  propose  this  method  with  us 
Germans.  Apart  from  the  tie  of  fear  and  hope,  the 
coherence  of  that  part  of  the  outside  world  with  which  we 
have  now  come  into  contact  is  founded  on  the  motives  of 
honour  and  of  national  glory.  The  clear  vision  of  the 
German,  however,  has  long  since  come  to  the  unshakable 
i  conviction  that  these  are  empty  illusions,  and  that  no 
injury  or  mutilation  of  the  individual  is  healed  by  the 
glory  of  the  whole  nation,  and  we  shall  indeed,  if  a  wider 
view  of  life  be  not  brought  before  us,  probably  become 
dangerous  preachers  of  this  very  natural  and  attractive 
doctrine.  Without,  therefore,  taking  to  ourselves  any 
new  corruption,  we  are  already  in  our  natural  condition 
a  harmful  prey ;  only  by  carrying  out  the  proposal 


that  has  been  made  can  we  become  a  wholesome  one. 
Then  the  outside  world,  as  certainly  as  it  knows  its  own 
interests,  will  be  guided  by  them,  and  prefer  to  have  us 
in  the  latter  state  rather  than  in  the  former. 

11.  Now  in  making  this  proposal  my  address  is  directed 
especially  towards  the  educated  classes  in  Germany,  for    . 
I  hope  that  it  will  be  intelligible  to  them  first.     My  pro 
posal  is  first  and  foremost  that  they  become  the  authors 
of  this  new  creation,  thereby,  on  the  one  hand,  reconciling 
the  world  to  their  former  influence,  and,  on  the  other, 
deserving  its    continuance    in  the  future.     We  shall  see 
in  the  course  of  these  addresses  that  up  to  the  present 
all  human  progress  in  the  German  nation  has  sprung  from 
the  people,  and  that  to  it,  in  the  first  instance,  great  national 
affairs  have  always  been  brought,  and  by  it  have  been  cared 
for  and  furthered.     Now,  for  the  first  time,  therefore,  it 
happens  that  the  fundamental  reconstruction  of  the  nation 

is  offered  as  a  task  to  the  educated  classes,  and  if  they 
were  really  to  accept  this  offer,  that,  too,  would  happen  ' 
for  the  first  time.     We  shall  find  that  these  classes  cannot  , 
calculate  how  long  it  will  still  remain  in  their  power  to 
place  themselves  at  the  head  of  this  movement,  since  it  is 
now  almost  prepared  and  ripe  for  proposal  to  the  people, 
and  is  being  practised   on    individuals  from  among  the 
people ;  and  the  people  will  soon  be  able  to  help  themselves 
without  any  assistance  from  us.     The  result  of  this  for  us^i 
will  simply  be  that  the  present  educated  classes  and  their   11 
descendants  will  become  the  people ;  while  from  among     W 
the  present  people  another  more  highly  educated  class   / 
will  arise. 

12.  Finally,  it  is  the  general  aim  of  these  addresses  to 
bring  courage  and  hope  to  the  suffering,  to  proclaim  joy 
in  the  midst  of  deep  sorrow,  to  lead  us  gently  and  softly 
through  the  hour  of  deep  affliction.     This  age  is  to  me  as  a 


shade  that  stands  weeping  over  its  own  corpse,  from  which 
it  has  been  driven  forth  by  a  host  of  diseases,  unable  to 
tear  its  gaze  from  the  form  so  beloved  of  old,  and  trying  in 
despair  every  means  to  enter  again  the  home  of  pestilence. 
Already,  it  is  true,  the  quickening  breezes  of  that  other 
world,  which  the  departed  soul  has  entered,  have  taken  it 
unto  themselves  and  are  surrounding  it  with  the  warm 
breath  of  love  ;  the  whispering  voices  of  its  sisters  greet 
it  with  joy  and  bid  it  welcome  ;  and  already  in  its  depths 
it  stirs  and  grows  in  all  directions  towards  the  more 
glorious  form  into  which  it  shall  develop.  But  as  yet  the 
soul  has  no  feeling  for  these  breezes,  no  ear  for  these 
voices — or  if  it  had  them,  they  have  disappeared  in  sorrow 
for  the  loss  of  mortal  form  ;  for  with  its  form  the  soul 
thinks  it  has  lost  itself  too.  What  is  to  be  done  with  it  ? 
The  dawn  of  the  new  world  is  already  past  its  breaking ; 
already  it  gilds  the  mountain  tops,  and  shadows  forth 
the  coming  day.  I  wish,  so  far  as  in  me  lies,  to  catch  the 
rays  of  this  dawn  and  weave  them  into  a  mirror,  in  which 
our  grief-stricken  age  may  see  itself ;  so  that  it  may 
believe  in  its  own  existence,  may  perceive  its  real  self,  and, 
as  in  prophetic  vision,  may  see  pass  by  its  own  develop 
ment,  its  coming  forms.  In  the  contemplation  of  this, 
the  picture  of  its  former  life  will  doubtless  sink  and  vanish  ; 
and  the  dead  body  may  be  borne  to  its  resting-place 
without  undue  lamenting. 


3f  the  \ 

ristics,     I 

i  n  CY    r»T      * 



13.  THESE  addresses  should  lead  you  first  of  all,  and  with 
you  the  whole  nation,  to  a  clear  perception  of  the  remedy 
which  I  have  proposed  for  the  preservation  of  the  German 
nation.  Such  a  remedy  follows  from  the  nature  of 
age  as  well  as  of  the  German  national  characteristics 
and  must  in  turn  influence  the  age  and  the  moulding  of 
those  national  characteristics.  This  remedy,  therefore, 
does  not  become  perfectly  clear  and  intelligible  until  it 
is  compared  with  the  latter,  and  these  with  it,  and  both 
are  represented  in  complete  connection  with  each  other. 
For  these  tasks  time  is  needed  ;  perfect  clearness,  there 
fore,  is  to  be  expected  only  at  the  end  of  our  addresses. 
But,  since  we  must  begin  at  some  point,  it  will  be  most 
convenient  first  of  all  to  consider  the  inner  nature  of 
that  remedy  by  itself,  apart  from  its  relations  in  time  and 
space.  Our  address  to-day,  therefore,  will  be  devoted  to 
this  task. 

The  remedy  indicated  was  an  absolutely  new  system 
of  German  national  education,  such  as  has  never  existed 
in  any  other  nation.  In  the  last  address  this  new  educa 
tion,  as  distinguished  from  the  old,  was  described  thus  : 
the  existing  education  has  at  most  only  exhorted  to  good 
order  and  morality,  but  these  exhortations  have  been 
unfruitful  in  real  life,  which  has  been  moulded  on  prin- 



ciples  that   are   quite   different   and  completely  beyond 
the  influence  of  that  education ;  in  contrast  to  this,  the 
new   education    must    be    able    surely   and   infallibly   to~ 
mould  and  determine  according  to  rules  the  real  vital 
impulses  and  actions  of  its  pupils. 

14.  Now    perchance    someone    might   -say,    as    indeed 
those  who  administer  the  present  system  of  education 
almost  without  exception  actually  do  say  :    "  What  more 
should  one  expect  of  any  education  than  that  it  should 
point   out  what  is  right  to  the  pupil  and  exhort  him 
earnestly  to  it  ;  whether  he  wishes  to  follow  such  exhorta 
tions  is  his  own  affair  and,  if  he  does  not,  his  own  fault  ; 
he  has  free  will,  which  no  education  can  take  from  him." 
Then,  in  order  to  define  more  clearly  the  new  education 
which  I  propose,  I  should  reply  that  that  very  recognition 
pf,  and  reliance  upon,  free  will  in  the  pupil  is  the  first 
listake  of  the  old  system  and  the  clear  confession  of  its 
itnpotence   and  futility.     For,   by  confessing  that   after 
all  its  most  powerful  efforts  the  will  still  remains  free, 
that  is,  hesitating  undecided  between  good  and  evil,  it 
confesses  that  it  neither  is  able,  nor  wishes,  nor  longs  to 
fashion  the  will  and  (since  the  latter  is  the  very  root  of 
man)  man  himself,  and  that  it  considers  this  altogether 
impossible.     On  the  other  hand,  the  new  education  must 
;  f  consist   essentially   in   this,   that   it   completely   destroys 
/     freedom  of  will  in  the  soil  which  it  undertakes  to  cultivate, 
\\      and   produces    on   the    contrary   strict   necessity   in   the 
I   \  decisions    of    the    will,    the    opposite    being    impossible. 
\       Such  a  will  can  henceforth  be  relied  on  with  confidence 
and  certainty. 

All  education  aims  at  producing  a  stable,  settled,  and 
steadfast  character,  which  no  longer  is  developing,  but 
is,  and  cannot  be  other  than  it  is.  If  it  did  not  aim  at 
such  a  character  it  would  be,  not  education,  but  some 


aimless  game  ;  if  it  did  not  produce  such  a  character  it 
would  still  be  incomplete.  He  who  must  still  exhort 
himself,  and  be  exhorted,  to  will  the  good,  has  as  yet  no 
firm  and  ever-ready  will,  but  wills  a  will  anew  every 
time  he  needs  it.  But  he  who  has  such  a  stable  will, 
wills  what  he  wills  for  ever,  and  cannot  under  any  cir- 
cumstances  will  otherwise  than  he  always  wills.  For  him 
freedom  of  the  will  is  destroyed  and  swallowed  up  in 
necessity.  The  past  age  had  neither  a  true  conception 
of  education  for  manhood  nor  the  power  to  realize  that 
conception.  It  showed  this  by  wanting  to  improve  man 
kind  by  warning  sermons,  and  by  being  angry  and  scolding 
when  these  sermons  were  of  no  avail.  Yet  how  could 
they  avail  aught  ?  Before  the  warning,  and  independent 
of  it,  the  will  of  man  has  already  its  definite  bent.  If 
this  agrees  with  your  exhortation,  the  latter  comes  too 
late  ;  without  it  he  would  have  done  what  you  exhort 
him  to.  If  this  bent  and  your  exhortation  are  in  opposi 
tion,  you  may  at  most  bewilder  him  for  a  few  moments  ; 
when  the  time  comes,  he  forgets  himself  and  your  exhorta 
tion,  and  follows  his  natural  inclination.  If  you  want 
to  influence  him  at  all,  you  must  do  more  than  merely 
talk  to  him  ;  you  must  fashion  him,  and  fashion  him  in 
such  a  way  that  he  simply  cannot  will  otherwise  than  you 
wish  him  to  will.  It  is  idle  to  say  :  Fly — for  he  has  no 
wings,  and  for  all  your  exhortations  will  never  rise  two 
steps  above  the  ground.  But  jievelop?  if  you  can.,  fcis. 

spiritual  wings  ;  let  him  exercise  them  and  make  them 
strong,  and  without  any  exhortation  from  you  he  will 
want,  and  will  be  able,  to  do  nothing  but  fly. 

15.  The^new  education  must  produce^this  stable  and 
unh^sitat  ing  -wil 

Itjnusljtself  inevitably  crea±£_.the  necessity  t  which  it 
aims.     Those  who  in  the  past  became  good  did  so  thanks 


to  their  natural  disposition,  which  outweighed  the  in 
fluence  of  their  bad  environment,  and  not  because  of 
their  education  in  any  way,  for  otherwise  all  the  pupils 
would  have  become  good.  Those  who  went  to  the  bad 
did  so  just  as  little  because  of  education,  for  otherwise 
all  the  pupils  would  have  been  corrupted ;  they  went 
to  the  bad  of  themselves,  thanks  to  their  natural  disposi 
tion.  In  this  respect  education  was  simply  futile,  and 
not  pernicious  at  all ;  the  real  formative  agency  was 
spiritual  nature.  Henceforth  education  for  manhood 
must  be  taken  from  the  influence  of  this  mysterious  and 
incalculable  force  and  put  under  the  direction  of  a  deliber 
ate  art,  which  will  surely  and  infallibly  accomplish  its 
purpose  with  everyone  entrusted  to  it  ;  or  which,  if 
somehow  it  does  not  accomplish  it,  will  at  least  know  that 
it  has  not  done  so,  and  that  therefore  the  training  is  still 
incomplete.  The  education  proposed  by  me,  therefore, 
I  is  to  be  a  reliable  and  deliberate  art  for  fashioning  in 
iman  a  stable  and  infallible  good  will.  That  is  its  'first 

1 6.  Moreover,  man  can  will  only  what  he  loves  ;    his 

I  love  is  the  sole  and  at  the  same  time  the  infallible  motive 

\  of  his  will   and   of    all   his    vital    impulses   and   actions. 

^Hitherto,  in  its  education  of  the  social  man  the  art  of 

the  State  assumed,  as  a  sure  and  infallible  principle,  that 

everyone  loves  and  wills  h  1 1  nwn  rn  algrial  welfare .     To 

this  natural  love  it  ardfkjall^Jinked,  by  means  of  the 

motives  of  fear  and  hope,  that  good  will  which  it  desired, 

namely,  interest  in  the-eom^Kii^weaL     Anyone  who  has 

become  outwardly  a  harmless  or  even  useful  citizen  as  a 

result  of  such  a  system  of  education  remains,  nevertheless, 

inwardly  a  bad  man ;  for  badness  consists  essentially  in 

loving  solely  one's   own  material  welfare  and  in  being 

influenced  only  by  the  motives  of  fear  or  hope  for  that 


welfare,  whether  in  the  present  or  in  some  future  life. 
Apart  from  this  fact,  we  have  already  seen  that  this 
method  is  no  longer  applicable  to  us,  because  the  motives 
of  fear  and  hope  serve  no  longer  with  us  but  against  us, 
and  material  love  of  self  cannot  be  turned  to  our  advantage 
in  any  .way.  We  are,  therefore,  compelled  by  necessity 
to  wish  to  mould  men  who  are  inwardly  and  fundamen 
tally  good,  since  it  is  through  such  men  alone  that  the 
German  nation  can  still  continue  to  exist,  whereas  through 
bad  men  it  will  inevitably  be  absorbed  in  the  outside 
world.  Therefore,  in  place  of  that  love  of  self,  with 
which  nothing  for  our  good  can  be  connected  any  longer, 
we  must  set  up  and  establish  in  the  hearts  of  all  those 
whom  we  wish  to  reckon  among  our  nation  that  other 
kind  of  love,  which  is  concerned  directly  with  the  good, 
tor  itsowjq.sake. 

We  have  already  seen  that  love  of  the  good,  simply 
as  such  and  not  for  the  sake  of  any  advantage  to  our 
selves,  takes  the  form  of  pleasure  in  it  ;    a  pleasure  so 
intense  that  a  man  is  thereby  stimulated  to  realize  the 
good  in  his  life.     It  is  this  intense  pleasure,  therefore,?) 
which  the  new  education  should  produce  as  its  pupil's|| 
stable    and     constant    character.      Then    this     pleasure 
itself  would  inevitably  be   the  foundation  of  the  pupil's 
constant  good  will. 

17.  A  pleasure  that  stimulates  us  to  bring  about  a 
certain  state  of  affairs  which  does  not  yet  actually  exist  pre 
supposes  an  iniage  of  that  state  which,  previous  to  its  actual 
existence,  hovers  before  the  mind  and  attracts  that  pleasure 
which  stimulates  to  realization.  This  pleasure,  therefore, 
presupposes  in  the  individual  who  is  to  be  affected  by 
it  the  power  to  create  spontaneously  such  images,  which 
are  independent  of  reality  and  not  copies  of  it,  but  rather 
its  prototypes.  I  must  now  speak  of  this  power,  and  I 


beg  you  during  the  consideration  of  it  not  to  forget 
that  an  image  created  by  this  power  can  please  simply 
as  an  image,  and  as  one  in  which  we  feel  our  creative 
energy,  without  being  for  that  reason  taken  as  a  proto 
type  of  reality  and  without  pleasing  to  such  a  degree  that 
it  stimulates  to  realization.  The  latter  is  quite  a  different 
and  our  own  special  goal,  of  which  we  shall  not  fail  to 
speak  later  ;  but  the  former  is  simply  the  preliminary 
condition  for  the  attainment  of  the  true  ultimate  aim  of 

1 8.  That  power  to  create  spontaneously  images,  which 
are  not  simply  copies  of  reality,  but  can  become  its  pro 
totypes,  should  be  the  starting-point  for  the  moulding 
of  the  race  by  means  of  the  new  education.  To  create 
images  spontaneously,  I  said,  and  in  such  a  way  that  the 
pupil  will  produce  them  by  his  own  power ;  but  not  in 
deed  that  he  will  merely  be  capable  of  receiving  passively 
the  image  presented  to  him  by  education,  of  understanding 
it  sufficiently,  and  of  reproducing  it  just  as  it  is  presented 
to  him,  as  if  it  were  a  question  simply  of  the  existence 
of  such  an  image.  The  reason  for  demanding  self- 
activity  in  regard  to  that  image  is  this  ;  only  on  that 
condition  can  the  image  created  engage  the  active 
pleasure  of  the  pupil.  For  it  is  one  thing  merely  to  allow 
oneself  to  be  pleased  at  something  and  to  have  nothing 
against  it  ;  such  passive  pleasure  can  arise  at  best  only 
from  passive  submission.  But  it  is  quite  another  thing 
to  be  so  affected  by  pleasure  at  something  that  this 
pleasure  becomes  productive  and  stirs  up  all  our  energy 
to  the  act  of  creation.  We  speak  not  of  the  former, 
which  happened  no  doubt  even  in  the  old  education,  but 
of  the  latter.  Now,  this  pleasure  will  be  kindled  only 
by  the  pupil's  self-activity  being  stimulated  at  the  same 
time  and  becoming  manifest  to  him  in  the  given  object, 


so  that  this  object  pleases  not  only  in  itself,  but  also  as 
an  object  of  the  manifestation  of  mental  power.  This 
pleases  directly,  inevitably,  and  invariably. 

19.  This    creative    mental    activity    which    is    to    be  \ 
developed  in  the  pupil  is  undoubtedly  an  activity  accord-     j 
ing  to  rules,  which  become  known  to  the  active  pupil     1 
until  he  sees  from  his  own  direct  experience  that  they     / 
alone  are  possible — that  is,  this  activity  produces  know-  I  / 
ledge,  and  that,  too,  of  general  and  infallible  laws.     More-  '* 
over,  in  the  free  development  that  begins  at  this  point 
it  is  impossible  to  undertake  anything  contrary  to  the 
law,  and  no  act  results  until  the  law  is  obeyed.     Even  if, 
therefore,   this   free    development    should  begin   at   first 
with  blind  efforts,  it  must  still  end  in  more  extensive 
knowledge  of  the  law.     This  training,  therefore,  in  its 
final  result,  is  the  training  of  the  pupil's  faculty  of  know 
ledge,  and,  of  course,  not  historical  training  in  the  actual 
condition  of   things,  but   the   higher   and   philosophical 
training  in  the  laws  which  make  that  actual  condition  of 
things  inevitable.     The  pupil  learns. 

I  add :    the  pupil   learns  willingly  and  with  pleasure, 
and  there  is  nothing  he  would  rather  do  than  learn,  so 
long  as  the  effort  lasts  ;  for  while  he  is  learning  his  activity 
is  spontaneous,  and  in  this  he  has  directly  the  greatest 
possible    pleasure.     Here    we    have    found    an    outward\ 
sign  of    true  education,  at    once  obvious  and  infallible; A 
namely,    that    every   pupil   on   whom    this   education   is  \ 
brought  to  bear,  without    exception  and  irrespective  of 
differences  in  natural  talent,  learns  with  pleasure  and  love,  / 
purely  for  the  sake  of  learning  and  for  no  other  reason.  ' 
We  have  discovered  the  means  of  kindling  this  pure  love 
of  learning  ;    it  is  to-  stimulate  directly  the  spontaneous 
activity  of  the  pupil  and  to  make  this  the  basis  of  all 
knowledge,  so  that  whatever  is  learnt  is  learnt  through  it.. 


The  first  important  point  in  the  art  of  education  is 
just  to  stimulate  this  personal  activity  of  the  pupil  in 
something  known  to  us.  If  we  succeed  in  this,  it  is 
simply  a  question  of  starting  from  that  and  of  maintaining 
the  stimulated  activity  in  ever  new  life.  This  is  possible 
only  where  progress  is  regular,  and  where  every  mistake 
in  education  is  discovered  immediately  through  the 
failure  of  what  was  intended.  We  have,  therefore,  found 
/  also  the  link  whereby  the  intended  result  is  inseparably 

/    connected  with  the  method  planned,  namely,  the  eternal, 
universal,  and  fundamental  law  of  man's  mental  nature, 

I    that  he  must  directly  engage  in  mental  activity. 

20.  Should  anyone,  misled  by  our  usual  daily  experi 
ence,  doubt  the  very  existence  of  such  a  fundamental 
law,  we  would  remind  him  over  and  over  again  that  man 
is  indeed  by  nature  merely  material  and  self-seeking, 
so  long  as  immediate  necessity  and  present  material  need 
spur  him  on,  and  that  he  does  not  let  any  spiritual  need 
or  feeling  of  consideration  prevent  him  from  satisfying 
/  that  material  need.  But  when  it  is  satisfied,  he  has 
little  inclination  to  let  his  fancy  dwell  on  the  painful 
image  of  it,  or  to  keep  it  in  his  mind.  He  is  much  more 
inclined  to  free  his  thoughts  and  turn  them  without 
restraint  to  the  consideration  of  whatever  attracts  the 
attention  of  his  senses.  Nor,  indeed,  does  he  scorn  a 
poetic  flight  to  ideal  worlds,  for  he  has  by  nature  but  little 
interest  in  the  temporal,  in  order  that  his  taste  for  the 
eternal  may  have  scope  for  development.  This  is  proved 
by  the  history  of  all  ancient  peoples,  and  by  the  various 
observations  and  discoveries  which  have  come  down  to  us 
from  them.  It  is  proved  in  our  day  by  the  observation 
of  races  that  are  still  savage,  provided,  of  course,  their 
climate  does  not  treat  them  far  too  unkindly,  and  by  the 
observation  of  our  own  children.  It  is  proved  even  by 


the  candid  confession  of  the  opponents  of  ideals,  who  com 
plain  that  it  is  a  far  more  disagreeable  business  to  learn 
names  and  dates  than  to  rise  into  this  empty  (as  it  appears 
to  them)  world  of  ideas  ;  but  who  would  themselves,  it 
seems,  if  they  might  indulge,  rather  do  the  latter  than  the 
former.  In  place  of  this  natural  freedom  from  care 
there  appears  anxiety,  in  which  tomorrow's  hunger  and 
all  possible  future  states  of  hunger  in  their  yhole  long 
series  hang  over  even  him  who  is  satiated,  as  the  one 
thing  that  occupies  his  mind  and  evermore  goads  and 
drives  him  on.  In  our  age  this  is  caused  artificially,  in 
the  Boy  by  the  repression  of  his  natural  freedom  from  care, 
in  the  man  by  the  endeavour  to  be  considered  prudent, 
a  reputation  which  falls  to  the  lot  only  of  him  who  does 
not  lose  sight  of  that  point  of  view  for  a  moment.  This, 
then,  is  not  the  natural  disposition  with  which  we  should 
have  to  reckon,  but  a  corruption  imposed  by  force  on 
reluctant  nature,  which  vanishes  when  that  force  is  no 
longer  applied. 

2 1 .  This  education,  which  stimulates  directly  the  mental 
activity  of  the  pupil,  produces  knowledge,  we  said  above. 
This  gives  us  the  opportunity  of  distinguishing  still  more 
clearly  the  new  education  from  the  old. //The  new  educa-1- 
tion,  in  fact,  aims  especially  and  directly  only  at  stimulat-  \ 
ing  regular  and  progressive  mental  activity.)/ Knowledge, 
as  we  saw  above,  results  only  incidentally  and  as  an 
inevitable  consequence.  Now,  if  it  is  only  in  such 
knowledge  that  our  pupil  can  conceive  the  image  of  real 
life  which  shall  stimulate  him  to  serious  activity  when  he 
becomes  a  man,  knowledge  is  certainly  an  important 
part  of  the  training  which  is  to  be  obtained.  Yet  it 
cannot  be  said  that  the  new  education  aims  directly 
at  such  knowledge  ;  knowledge  is  only  incidental  to  it. 
On  the  other  hand,  the  old  education  aimed  definitely 


at  knowledge,  and  at  a  certain  amount  of  some  subject  of 
knowledge.  Besides,  there  is  a  great  difference  between 
that  kind  of  knowledge  which  results  incidentally  from 
the  new  education  and  that  at  which  the  old  education 
aimed.  vjThe  former  results  in  knowledge  of  the  laws  which 
condition  all  possible  mental  activity.  For  instance,  if 
the  pupil  tries  in  free  fancy  to  enclose  a  space  with 
straight  lines,  this  is  the  first  stimulation  of  his  mental 
activity.  If  in  these  attempts  he  discovers  that  he  cannot 
enclose  a  space  with  fewer  than  three  straight  lines,  this 
is  the  incidental  knowledge  resulting  from  another  quite 
different  activity,  that  of  the  faculty  of  knowledge, 
which  restricts  the  free  power  first  stimulated.  This 
education,  therefore,  results  at  the  very  outset  in  know 
ledge  which  transcends  all  experience,  which  is  abstract, 
absolute,  and  strictly  universal,  and  which  includes  within 
itself  beforehand  all  subsequently  possible  experience. 
On  the  other  hand,  the  old  education  was  concerned,  as  a 
rule,  only  with  the  actual  qualities  of  things  as  they  are 
and  as  they  should  be  believed  and  noted,  without  anyone 
being  able  to  assign  a  reason  for  them.  It  aimed,  therefore, 
at  purely  passive  reception  by  means  of  the  power  of 
memory,  which  was  completely  at  the  service  of  things. 
It  was,  therefore,  impossible  to  have  any  idea  of  the  rnind 
as  an  independent  original  principle  jthingsjthemselves. 
Modern  education  must  not  think  it  can  defend  itself 
against  this  reproach  by  appealing  to  its  oft-declared 
contempt  for  mechanical  rote-learning  and  to  its  well- 
known  masterpieces  in  the  Socratic  manner.  On  this 
point  it  was  fully  informed  long  ago  from  another  source 
that  these  Socratic  reasonings  are  also  learned  by  heart 
purely  mechanically,  and  that  this  is  a  much  more  dan 
gerous  form  of  rote-learning,  because  it  makes  the  pupil 
who  does  not  think  appear  capable  of  thinking.  It  was 


informed,  too,  that  no  other  result  was  possible  with  the 
material  it  employed  to  develop  spontaneous  thought, 
and  that  for  this  purpose  one  must  commence  with 
entirely  different  material.  This  quality  of  the  old 
education  shows  clearly  why  the  pupil  generally  learned 
unwillingly,  and  therefore  slowly  and  but  little,  and  why, 
because  learning  itself  was  not  attractive,  extraneous 
motives  had  to  be  introduced  ;  it  also  shows  the  reason 
for  the  exceptions  to  the  rule  hitherto.  Memory, 
employed  alone  and  without  serving  any  other  purpose 
in  the  mind,  is  a  passive  condition  rather  than  an  activity 
of  the  mind,  and  it  is  easy  to  understand  that  the  pupil 
will  be  very  unwilling  to  accept  this  passive  state.  Besides, 
acquaintance  with  things  and  with  the  properties  of_ 
things  which  are  quite  strange,  and  which  have  not  the 
slightest  interest  for  him,  is  a  poor  recompense  for  the 
passivity  inflicted  on  him.  His  aversion,  therefore,  had 
to  be  overcome  by  holding  out  hopes  of  the  usefulness  of 
such  knowledge  in  the  future,  by  asserting  that  by  it 
alone  could  a  living  and  a  reputation  be  obtained,  and 
even  by  direct  immediate  punishment  and  reward.  Thus 
from  the  very  outset,  knowledge  was  set  up  as  a  servant 
of  material  welfare  ;  and  this  education,  which  was 
described  above,  from  the  point  of  view  of  its  content,  as 
simply  incapable  of  developing  a  moral  sense,  was  in  fact 
obliged,  in  order  to  reach  the  pupil  at  all,  to  implant  and 
develop  moral  corruption  in  him  and  to  unite  its  own 
interest  with  that  of  this  corruption.  Further,  it  will 
be  found  that  the  natural  talent,  which,  as  an  exception 
to  the  rule,  learned  willingly  and  therefore  well  in  schools 
under  the  old  education,  overcame  the  moral  corruption 
of  the  environment  and  kept  its  character  pure,  thanks 
to  this  greater  love  that  governed  it.  Owing  to  its 
natural  inclination  it  acquired  a  practical  interest  in 


these  subjects,  and,  guided  by  its  happy  instinct,  it  aimed 
at  producing,  far  more  than  at  merely  receiving,  such 
knowledge.  Then,  in  regard  to  the  subjects  taught, 
this  education  usually  succeeded  best,  in  exception  to  the 
rule,  with  those  which  it  allowed  to  be  practised  actively. 
For  instance,  the  classical  language1  in  which  writing  and 
speaking  were  the  aim  was  nearly  always  fairly  well  learned ; 
whereas  the  other  language,2  in  which  practice  in  writing 
and  speaking  was  neglected,  was  usually  learned  very 
badly  and  superficially,  and  was  forgotten  in  later  years. 
It  follows,  therefore,  from  previous  experience,  that  it  is 
the  development  of  mental  activity  by  means  of  instruc 
tion  which  alone  produces  pleasure  in  knowledge  simply 
as  such,  and  so  keeps  the  mind  open  for  moral  training  ; 
on  the  other  hand,  purely  passive  receptivity  paralyses 
and  kills  knowledge,  just  as  it  inevitably  corrupts  the  moral 
sense  completely. 

22.  To  return  again  to  the  pupil  under  the  new 
education.  It  is  evident  that,  spurred  on  by  his  love, 
he  will  learn  much  and,  since  he  understands  everything 
in  its  relations  and  immediately  puts  into  action  what  he 
has  understood,  he  will  learn  it  correctly  and  will  never 
forget  it.  Yet  that  is  but  incidental.  More  important 
is  the  fact  that  this  love  exalts  his  personality  and  intro 
duces  him  systematically  and  deliberately  into  a  wholly 
new  order  of  things,  into  which  hitherto  only  a  few, 
favoured  by  God,  came  by  accident.  The  love  which 
spurs  him  on  aims  not  at  sensuous  enjoyment,  which  quite 
ceases  to  be  a  motive  for  him,  but  at  mental  activity  and 
the  law  of  that  activity  for  their  own  sakes.  Now,  it  is 
not  this  mental  activity  in  general  with  which  morality 
is  concerned  ;  for  this  purpose  a  special  direction  must 
be  given  to  that  activity.  Yet  this  love  is  the  specific 
1  [Latin].  2  [Greek]. 


quality  and  form  of  tbe  moral  will.  This  method  of 
mental  training  is,  therefore,  the  immediate  preparation 
for  the  moral ;  it  completely  destroys  the  root  of  immor 
ality  by  never  allowing  sensuous  enjoyment  to  become 
the  motive.  Formerly,  that  was  the  first  motive  to  be 
stimulated  and  developed,  because  it  was  believed  that 
otherwise  the  pupil  could  not  be  influenced  or  controlled 
at  all.  If  the  moral  motive  had  to  be  developed  after 
wards,  it  came  too  late  and  found  the  heart  already 
occupied  by,  and  filled  with,  another  love.  On  the  other\ 
hand,  in  the  new  education  the  training  of  a  pure  will 
is  to  be  the  first  aim,  so  that  if,  later,  selfishness  should 
awake  within,  or  be  stimulated  from  without,  it  may  come 
too  late,  and  find  no  room  for  itself  in  a  heart  which  is 
already  occupied  by  something  else.  / 

23.  It  is  essential  both  for  this  first  aim  and  also  fort 
the  second,  which  will  be  mentioned  soon,  that  from  the^\ 
very  beginning   the   pupil   should   be   continuously   and   ^ 
completely  under  the  influence  of  this  education,   and     J 
.shoulcLbe  separated  altogether  from  the  community,  and    J 
kept  from  all  contact  with  it.     He  must  not  even  hear  * 
that  our  vital  impulses  and  actions  can  be  directed  towards 
our  maintenance  and  welfare,  nor  that  we  may  learn  for 
that  reason,  nor  that  learning  may  be  of  some  use  for  that 
purpose.     It  follows  that  mental  development  should  be 
produced  in  him  only  in  the  manner  described  above,  that 

he  should  be  occupied  with  it  unceasingly,  and  that  this 
method  of  instruction  should  on  no  account  be  exchanged 
for  that  which  requires  the  opposite  material  motive. 

24.  But,  although  this  mental  development  does  not 
let  self-seeking  come  to  life  and  provides  indeed  the  form 
oLa  moj^Ljvill,  it  is  not  yet,  however;  the  moral  will 
itself.     If  the  new  education  which  we  propose  did  not 
go  further,  it  would  at  best  train  excellent  men  of  learn- 


ing,  as  in  the  past,  of  whom  only  a  few  are  needed,  and 

who  would  be  able  to  do  no  more  for  our  true  human 

and  national  aim  than  such  men  have  done  hitherto — 

exhort,  and  exhort  again,  get  themselves  wondered  at, 

and  occasionally  abused.     But  it  is  clear,  as  I  have  already 

said,  that  this  free  activity  of  the  mind  is  developed  with 

[  the  intention  that  by  it  the  pupil  may  voluntarily  create 

j  the  image  of  a  moral  order  of  life  that  actually  exists, 

j   may  lay  hold  of  this  image  with  the  love  that  is  also 

I  already  developed  in  him,  and  be  spurred  on  by  this  love 

I  to  realize  it  actually  in  and  by  his  life.     The  question  is, 

how  can  the  new  education  prove  to  itself  that  it  has 

achieved  this,  its  true  and  final  purpose  with  the  pupil. 

25.  Above  all  it  is  clear  that  the  mental  activity  of 
the  pupil,  which  has  been  exercised  already  on  other 
objects,  should  be  stimulated  to  create  an  image  of  the 
I  social  order  of  mankind  as  it  ought  to  be,  simply  in  accord- 
/  ance  with  the  law  of  reason.  Whether  the  image  created 
by  the  pupil  be  true  can  be  judged  most  easily  by  an 
education  which  alone  is  in  possession  of  this  true  image. 
Whether  it  is  created  by  the  pupil's  spontaneous  activity, 
and  not  simply  passively  accepted  and  credulously  repeated 
in  school  fashion,  and,  further,  whether  it  is  raised  to  the 
proper  clearness  and  vividness,  education  will  be  able 
to  judge,  just  as  it  has  hitherto  correctly  judged  other 
things  in  this  respect.  Yet  all  this  is  a  matter  for  mere 
knowledge,  and  remains  within  the  domain  of  knowledge, 
which  is  very  accessible  in  this  system  of  education. 
It  is  a  very  different  and  a  higher  question,  whether  the 
pupil  is  so  filled  with  ardent  love  for  such  an  order  of 
things,  that  it  will  be  utterly  impossible  for  him  not  to 
desire  it  and  to  work  with  all  his  strength  to  promote  it, 
when  freed  from  the  guidance  of  education  and  left  inde 
pendent.  This  question,  undoubtedly,  not  words  and 


tests  which  are  arranged  in  words,  but  only  the  appear 
ance  of  deeds,  can  decide. 

26.  This  is  my  solution  of  the  problem  raised  by  this  last 
consideration.  Under  the  new  system  of  education  the 
pupils,  although  separated  from  the  adult  community, 
will,  nevertheless,  undoubtedly  live  together  among  them 
selves,  and  so  form  a  separate  and  self-contained  com 
munity  with  its  organization  precisely  defined,  based  on 
the  nature  of  things  and  demanded  throughout  by  reason. 
The  very  first  image  of  a  social  order  which  the  pupil's 
mind  should  be  stimulated  to  create  will  be  that  of  the 
community  in  which  he  himself  lives.  He  will  be  inwardly 
compelled,  therefore,  to  fashion  this  order  for  himself 
bit  for  bit,  just  as  it  is  actually  sketched  out  for  him,  and 
to  conceive  it  in  all  its  parts  as  absolutely  inevitable 
because  of  its  elements.  This,  again,  is  merely  the  work 
of  knowledge.  Now,  in  real  life  under  this  social  arrange-  , 
ment  every  individual  has  continually  to  abstain,  for  the 
sake  of  the  community,  from  much  that  he  could  do 
without  hesitation  if  he  were  alone.  It  will  be  fitting, 
therefore,  that  the  legislation,  and  the  instruction  con 
cerning  the  constitution  which  is  to  be  based  thereon, 
should  represent  to  each  individual  all  the  others  asj 
animated  by  a  love  of  order  exalted  to  the  ideal,  which! 
perhaps  no  one  person  really  has,  but  which  all  ought/  \ 
to  have.  It  will  be  fitting,  too,  that  the  legislation  should1/ 
consequently  maintain  a  high  standard  of  severity, 
and  should  prohibit  the  doing  of  many  things.  Such 
,  which  simply  must  exist  and  on  which  the 

existence  of  the  cornmunity  depends,  are  to  be  enforced 
in  case  of  necessity  by  fear  of  immediate  punishment, 
and  this  penal  law  must  be  administered  absolutely 
without  indulgence  or  exception.  This  application  of 
does  not  impair  in  any  way  the  morality 



of  the  pupil,  for  in  this  case  he  is  incited,  not  to  do  good, 
but  only  to  abstain  from  what  under  this  system  of  govern 
ment  is  evil.  Moreover,  the  instruction  concerning  the 
constitution  must  make  it  quite  clear  that  anyone  who 
still  needs  the  idea  of  punishment,  or  even  indeed  to 
revive  that  idea  by  suffering  punishment,  is  at  a  very  low 
stage  of  civilization.  Yet,  in  spite  of  all  this,  it  is  clear 
that  in  these  circumstances  the  pupil  will  be  unable  to 
show  his  good  will  outwardly,  and  education  will  be 
unable  to  estimate  it,  since  no  one  can  ever  know  whether 
obedience  results  from  love  of  order  or  from  fear  of 

On  the  other  hand,  in  the  following  circumstances 
such  an  estimate  is  possible.  The  system  of  government 
must  be  arranged  in  such  a  way  that  the  individual  must 
not  only  abstain,  but  will  also  work  and  act,  for  the  sake 
of  the  community.  Physical  exercises,  the  mechanical, 
but  here  idealized,  work  of  farming,  and  trades  of  various 
kinds,  in  addition  to  the  development  of  the  mind  by 
learning,  are  included  in  this  commonwealth  of  pupils. 
A  fundamental  principle  of  the  system  of  government  will 
be  that  anyone  who  may  excel  in  one  of  these  depart 
ments  will  be  expected  to  help  to  instruct  the  others  in 
it,  and  to  undertake  superintendence  and  responsibilities 
of  various  kinds.  Anyone  who  discovers  an  improvement, 
or  understands  most  clearly,  and  before  the  others,  an  im 
provement  proposed  by  a  teacher,  is  expected  to  work  it 
out  by  his  own  efforts,  without  being  set  free  for  this 
purpose  from  his  other  personal  tasks  of  learning  and  work 
ing  which  are  understood.  Everyone  is  supposed  to  fulfil 
this  expectation  voluntarily,  not  compulsorily  ;  for  anyone 
who  is  unwilling  is  free  to  refuse.  He  is  to  expect  neither 
reward  for  it,  for  under  this  system  of  government  all  are 
quite  equal  in  regard  to  work  and  pleasure,  nor  even  praise, 


tity  is  that 
'ne  enjoys      / 
mmunity,   J 

for  the  attitude  of  mind  prevailing  in  the  community 
it  is  just  everyone's  duty  to  act  thus  ;  but  he  alone 
the  pleasure  of  acting  and  working  for  the  community, 
and  of  succeeding,  if  that  should  fall  to  his  lot.  Under 
this  system  of  government,  therefore,  the  acquirement 
of  greater  skill  and  the  effort  spent  therein  will  result 
only  in  fresh  effort  and  work,  and  it  will  be  the  very  pupil 
who  is  abler  than  the  rest  who  must  often  watch  while 
others  sleep,  and  reflect  while  others  play. 

27.  To  some  pupils  all  this  will  be  quite  clear  and 
intelligible.  Yet  they  will  continue  to  undertake  that 
initial  toil  and  the  further  labours  that  result  from  it 
so  joyfully  that  they  may  be  relied  on  with  certainty. 
They  will  remain  strong,  and  become  even  stronger,  in 
their  feeling  of  power  and  activity.  Such  pupils  education 
can  confidently  send  out  into  the  world ;  it  has  achieved 
its  purpose  with  them.  Their  love  has  been  kindled  and 
burns  down  to  the  root  of  their  vital  impulse  ;  from  now 
onwards  it  will  lay  hold  of  everything,  without  excep 
tion,  that  comes  in  contact  with  this  vital  impulse.  In 
the  larger  community,  which  they  now  enter,  they  can 
never  be  anything  but  the  steady  and  constant  beings 
they  have  been  in  the  little  community  they  are  now  j 

The  pupil  has  in  this  way  been  fully  prepared  for  the 
demands  which  the  world  will  immediately  and  certainly 
make  of  him.  What  education,  in  the  name  of  this 
world,  demands  of  him  has  been  done.  But  he  is  still 
not  perfect  in  and  for  himself,  and  what  he  himself  can 
claim  from  education  has  not  yet  been  done.  When  this 
demand,  too,  has  been  met,  he  will  be  able  to  satisfy  also 
the  demands  which,  in  special  circumstances,  a  higher 
world,  in  the  name  of  the  present  world,  may  make  of  him. 


DESCRIPTION    OF    THE    NEW    EDUCATION    (continued) 

28.  THE  essential  feature  of  the  proposed  new  education, 
so  far  as  it  was  described  in  the  last  address,  consisted 
in  this,  that  it  is  the  sure  and  deliberate  art  of  training 
the  pupil  to  pure  morality.  To  pure  morality,  I  said  ; 
the  morality  to  which  it  educates  exists  as  an  original, 
independent,  and  separate  thing,  which  develops  spon 
taneously  its  own  life,  but  is  not,  like  the  legality  hitherto 
often  aimed  at,  linked  with  and  implanted  in  some  other 
non-moral  impulse,  for  the  satisfaction  of  which  it  serves. 
It  is  the  sure  and  deliberate  art  of  this  moral  education, 
I  said.  It  does  not  proceed  aimlessly  and  at  random, 
but  according  to  a  fixed  rule  well  known  to  it,  and  is 
certain  of  its  success.  Its  pupil  goes  forth  at  the  proper 
time  as  a  fixed  and  unchangeable  machine  produced  by 
this  art,  which  indeed  could  not  go  otherwise  than  as 
it  has  been  regulated  by  the  art,  and  needs  no  help  at  all, 
but  continues  of  itself  according  to  its  own  law. 

This  education  certainly  does  train  also  the  pupil's 
mind,  and  this  mental  training  is  indeed  the  first  thing 
with  which  it  commences  its  task.  Yet  this  mental 
development  is  not  the  chief  and  original  aim,  but  only 
the  condition  and  means  of  applying  moral  training  to 
the  pupil.  This  mental  training,  however,  though 
acquired  but  incidentally,  remains  an  ineradicable  pos- 



session  of  the  pupil's  life  and  the  ever-burning  lamp  of 
his  moral  love.  However  great  or  small  the  total  know 
ledge  which  he  may  have  obtained  from  education,  he 
will  certainly  have  brought  away  from  it  a  mind  which, 
during  the  whole  of  his  life,  will  be  able  to  grasp  every 
truth,  the  knowledge  of  which  is  essential  to  him,  and 
which  will  remain  continually  susceptible  to  instruction 
from  others,  as  well  as  capable  of  reflecting  for  itself. 

This  was  the  point  we  reached  in  the  last  address  in 
the  description  of  the  new  education.  At  the  end  of  it 
we  remarked  that  thereby  it  was  not  yet  completed,  but 
that  it  had  still  to  solve  another  problem  different  from 
those  already  set.  We  proceed  now  to  the  task  of  defining 
this  problem  more  clearly. 

29.  The  pupil  of  this  education  is  not  merely  a  member 
of  human  society  here  on  this  earth  and  for  the  short 
span  of  life  which  is  permitted  him  on  it.  He  is  also,  and 
is  undoubtedly  acknowledged  by  education  to  be,  a  link 
in  the  eternal  chain  of  spiritual  life  in  a  higher  social 
order.  A  training  which  has  undertaken  to  include  the 
whole  of  his  being  should  undoubtedly  lead  him  to  a 
knowledge  of  this  higher  order  also.  Just  as  it  led  him  to 
sketch  out  for  himself  by  his  own  activity  an  image  of 
that  moral  world-order  which  never  is,  but  always  is  to 
be,  so  must  it  lead  him  to  create  in  thought  by  the  same 
self-activity  an  image  of  that  supersensuous  world-order 
in  which  nothing  becomes,  and  which  never  has  become, 
but  which  simply  is  for  ever  ;  all  this  in  such  a  way  that 
he  intimately  understands  and  perceives  that  it  could 
not  be  otherwise.  Under  proper  guidance  he  will 
complete  his  attempts  at  such  an  image,  and  find  at  the 
end  that  nothing  really  exists  but  life,  the  spiritual 
life  which  lives  in  thought,  and  that  everything  else 
does  not  really  exist,  but  only  appears  to  exist.  The 


reason  for  this  appearance,  a  reason  that  results  from 
thought,  he  will  likewise  grasp,  even  if  only  in  general. 
Further,  he  will  perceive  that,  amid  the  various  forms 
which  it  received,  not  by  chance,  but  according  to  a  law 
founded  in  God  Himself,  the  spiritual  life  which  alone 
really  exists  is  one,  the  divine  life  itself,  which  exists  and 
manifests  itself  only  in  living  thought.  He  will  thus 

f  learn  to  know  and  keep  holy  his  own  and  every  other 
spiritual  life  as  an  eternal  link  in  the  chain  of  the  mani- 

V  festation  of  the  divine  life.  Only  in  immediate  contact 
with  God  and  in  the  direct  emanation  of  his  life  from 
Him  will  he  find  life,  light,  and  happiness,  but  in  any 
separation  from  that  immediate  contact,  death,  darkness, 
and  misery.  In  a  word,  this  development  will  train  him 
I  to  religion  ;  and  this  religion  of  the  indwelling  of  our 
life  in  God  shall  indeed  prevail  and  be  carefully  fostered 
in  the  new  era.  On  the  other  hand,  the  religion  of  the 
past  separated  the  spiritual  life  from  the  divine,  and  only 
by  apostasy  against  the  divine  life  could  it  procure  for  the 
spiritual  life  the  absolute  existence  which  it  had  ascribed 
to  it.  It  used  God  as  a  means  to  introduce  self-seeking 
into  other  worlds  after  the  death  of  the  mortal  body, 
and  through  fear  and  hope  of  these  other  worlds  to  rein 
force  for  the  present  world  the  self-seeking  which  would 
otherwise  have  remained  weak.  Such  a  religion,  which 
was  obviously  a  servant  of  selfishness,  shall  indeed  be  borne 
to  the  grave  along  with  the  past  age.  In  the  new  era 
eternity  does  not  dawn  first  on  yon  side  of  the  grave, 
but  comes  into  the  midst  of  the  present  life  ;  while  self- 
seeking  is  dismissed  from  serving  and  from  ruling,  and 
(departs,  taking  its  servants  with  it. 
Education  to  true  religion  is,  therefore,  the  final  task 
of  the  new  education. 
Whether  in  the  creation  of  the  necessary  image  of  the 


supersensuous  world-order  the  pupil  has  really  acted 
spontaneously,  and  whether  the  image  created  is  abso 
lutely  correct  and  thoroughly  clear  and  intelligible,  educa 
tion  can  easily  judge  in  the  same  way  as  in  the  case  of 
other  objects  of  knowledge,  for  that,  too,  is  in  the  domain 
of  knowledge. 

30.  But  here,  too,  the  more  important  question  is : 
How  can  education  estimate  and  guarantee  that  this 
knowledge  of  religion  will  not  remain  dead  and  cold, 
but  will  be  expressed  in  the  actual  life  of  the  pupil  ? 
The  premise  of  this  question  is  the  answer  to  another  : 
How,  and  in  what  manner,  is  religion  shown  in  life  ? 

In  everyday  life,  and  in  a  well-ordered  community, 
there  is  no  need  whatever  of  religion  to  regulate  HfeJ 
True  morality  suffices  wholly  for  that  purpose.  In  this 
respect,  therefore,  religion  is  not  practical,  and  cannot 
and  shall  not  become  practical.  Religion  is  simply^ 
knowledge  ;  it  makes  man  quite  clear  and  intelligible 
to  himself,  answers  the  highest  question  which  he  can 
raise,  solves  for  him  the  last  contradiction,  and  so  brings 
into  his  understanding  complete  unity  with  itself  and 
perfect  clearness.  It  is  his  complete  salvation  and  deliver 
ance  from  every  foreign  bond.  Education,  therefore,  owes 
him  this  religion  as  his  due  absolutely,  and  without  ulterior 
purpose.  Religion,  as  a  motive,  has  its  only  sphere  of 
action  in  a  very  immoral  and  corrupt  society,  or  where 
man's  field  of  activity  lies  not  within  the  social  order  but 
beyond  it,  and  rather  has  continually  to  create  it  anew 
and  to  maintain  it  ;  as  in  the  case  of  the  ruler,  who  often 
could  not,  without  religion,  perform  the  duties  of  his 
office  with  a  good  conscience.  Such  a  case  is  not  the 
concern  of  an  education  intended  for  everyone  and  for 
the  whole  nation.  When,  as  in  the  former  case,  work  is 
continued  unceasingly,  although  man's  understanding 


has  a  clear  perception  of  the  incorrigibility  of  the  age  ; 
when  the  toil  of  sowing  is  courageously  borne  without 
any  prospect  of  harvest  ;  when  good  is  done  even  to  the 
ungrateful,  and  those  who  curse  are  blessed  with  deeds 
and  gifts,  although  it  is  clearly  foreseen  that  they  will 
curse  again  ;  when  after  a  hundred  failures  man  persists 
in  faith  and  in  love  ;  then,  it  is  not  mere  morality  which  is 
the  motive,  for  that  requires  a  purpose,  but  it  is  religion, 
the  submission  to  a  higher  and  unknown  law,  the  humble 
silence  before  God,  the  sincere  love  of  His  life  that  is 
manifested  in  us,  which  alone  and  for  its  own  sake  shall 
be  saved,  where  the  eye  sees  nothing  else  to  save. 

31.  Hence,  the  knowledge  of  religion,  obtained  by  the 
pupils  of  the  new  education  in  their  little  community 
in  which  they  grow  up,  cannot  and  shall  not  become 
practical.  This  community  is  well  ordered,  and  in  it 
whatever  is  properly  attempted  always  succeeds  ;  besides, 
the  yet  tender  age  of  man  shall  be  maintained  in  simplicity 
and  in  quiet  faith  in  his  race.  Let  the  knowledge  of 
its  knavery  remain  reserved  for  personal  experience  in 
mature  and  stronger  years. 

It  is,  therefore,  only  in  these  more  mature  years  and  in 
the  life  of  earnest  purpose,  long  after  education  has  left 
him  to  himself,  that  the  pupil,  if  his  social  relations 
should  advance  from  simple  to  higher  stages,  could  need 
his  knowledge  of  religion  as  a  motive.  Now,  how  shall 
education,  which  cannot  test  the  pupil  in  this  while  he 
is  in  its  hands,  nevertheless  be  sure  that  this  motive  will 
work  infallibly,  if  only  the  need  arise  ?  I  reply  :  In  this 
way  ;  the  pupil  is  so  trained  that  none  of  the  knowledge 
he  possesses  remains  dead  and  cold  within  him  when 
the  possibility  of  its  coming  to  life  arises,  but  it  all  inevit 
ably  influences  life  so  soon  as  life  requires  it.  I  shall 
give  further  reasons  for  this  statement  in  a  moment,  and 


so  elevate  the  whole  conception  which  has  been  treated 
in  this  and  in  the  last  address,  and  fit  it  into  a  larger 
system  of  knowledge.  On  this  larger  system  itself  I 
shall  shed  new  light  and  greater  clearness  by  that  con 
ception.  But  first  let  me  describe  exactly  the  true  nature 
of  the  new  education,  a  general  description  of  which  I 
have  just  ended. 

I      32.  This  education,  then,  no  longer  appears,  as  it  did 
at  the  beginning  of  our  address  to-day,  simply  as  the  art 

,  of  training  the  pupil  to  pure  morality,  but  is  rather  the 
art  of  training  the  whole  man  completely  and  fully  for 
manhood.  In  this  connection  there  are  two  essentials. 
First,  in  regard  to  form,  it  is  the  real  living  human  being,  \ 
not  simply  the  shadow  and  phantom  of  a  man,  who  is 
to  be  trained  to  the  very  roots  of  his  life.  Then,  in 
regard  to  content,  all  the  essential  component  parts  of 
man  are  to  be  developed  equally  and  without  exception. 
These  component  parts  are  understanding  and  will ;  and 
education  has  to  aim  at  clearness  in  the  former  and  at 
purity  in  the  latter.  Now,  in  regard  to  clearness  in  the 
former,  two  main  questions  must  be  raised  ;  first,  what 
it  is  that  the  pure  will  really  wishes,  and  by  what  means 
this  wish  is  to  be  attained  ;  under  this  head  is  included 
all  other  knowledge  which  is  to  be  taught  to  the  pupil  ; 
secondly,  what  this  pure  will  is  in  principle  and  essence  ; 
under  this  head  is  included  knowledge  of  religion.  The 
essentials  mentioned,  and  their  development  until  they 
influence  life,  education  demands  absolutely,  and  does  not 
intend  to  exempt  anyone  from  them  in  the  slightest 
degree,  for  everyone  must  be  a  complete  man.  As  to 
what  anyone  may  become  in  addition,  and  as  to  the  par 
ticular  form  general  human  nature  may  take  or  receive 
in  him,  this  does  not  concern  universal  education, 
and  lies  beyond  its  scope. 


33.  I  proceed  now,  by  means  of  the  following  proposi 
tions,  to  give  the  further  reasons  I  promised  for  the 
statement  that  in  the  pupil  of  the  new  education  no 
knowledge  can  remain  dead,  and  to  fulfil  my  intention  of 
elevating  into  a  connected  system  all  that  has  been  said. 

From  what  has  been  said  it  follows  that  from  the 
point  of  view  of  their  education  there  are  two  quite 
different  .and  entirely  opposite  classes  of  men.  At 
first  every  human  being  (and,  therefore,  also  these  two 
classes)  is  alike  in  this,  that  underlying  the  various 
manifestations  of  his  life  there  is  one  impulse,  which  amid 
all  change  persists  unchanged  and  is  always  the  same. 
Incidentally,  the  self-comprehension  of  this  impulse 
and  its  translation  into  ideas  creates  the  world,  and  there 
is  no  other  world  but  this  world  which  is  created  thus 
in  thought,  not  freely  but  of  necessity.  Now  this  impulse, 
which  must  always  be  translated  into  consciousness  (and 
in  this  respect,  once  again,  the  two  classes  are  alike),  can  be 
so  translated  in  two  ways,  according  to  the  two  different 
kinds  of  consciousness.  It  is  in  the  method  of  translation 
and  of  self-comprehension  that  the  two  classes  differ. 

The  first  kind  of  consciousness,  that  which  is  the  first 
in  point  of  time  to  develop,  is  that  of  dim  feeling.  Where 
this  feeling  exists,  the  fundamental  impulse  is  most 
usually  and  regularly  comprehended  as  the  individual's 
love  of  self  ;  indeed,  dim  feeling  shows  this  self  at  first 
only  as  something  that  wills  to  live  and  to  prosper. 
Hence,  material  self-seeking  arises  as  the  real  motive  and 
developing  power  of  such  a  life  engrossed  in  translating 
its  original  impulse  thus.  So  long  as  man  continues  to 
understand  himself  in  this  way,  so  long  must  he  act  selfishly, 
being  unable  to  do  otherwise  ;  and,  amid  the  ceaseless 
change  in  his  life,  it  is  this  self-seeking  alone  that  persists, 
always  the  same  and  to  be  expected  with  certainty.  Thr 


dim  feeling  can  also,  as  an  unusual  exception  to  the 
rule,  pass  beyond  the  personal  self,  and  comprehend  the 
fundamental  impulse  as  a  desire  for  a  dimly-felt  different 
order  of  things.  Thence  arises  the  life,  adequately 
described  by  us  elsewhere,  which,  exalted  above  self- 
seeking,  is  motived  by  ideas,  dim  indeed  but  none  the 
less  ideas,  and  in  which  reason  rules  as  an  instinct.  Such 
comprehension  of  the  fundamental  impulse  merely  by 
dim  feeling  is  the  characteristic  of  the  first  class  of  men, 
who  are  trained,  not  by  education,  but  by  their  own 
selves ;  this  class  in  turn  consists  of  two  species,  which 
are  distinct  for  some  reason  that  is  incomprehensible 
and  quite  beyond  the  art  of  man  to  discover. 

Clear  knowledge  is  the  second  kind  of  consciousness » 
which  does  not,  as  a  rule,  develop  of  itself,  but  must  bq 
carefully  fostered  in  the  community.  If  the  fundamental 
impulse  of  man  were  embraced  in  this  principle,  it  would 
produce  a  second  class  of  men  quite  different  from  the 
first.  Such  knowledge,  which  embraces  fundamental  love 
itself,  does  not  leave  us  cold  and  indifferent,  as  indeed 
other  knowledge  can,  but  its  object  is  loved  above  every 
thing,  for  that  object  is  but  the  interpretation  and 
translation  of  our  original  love  itself.  Other  knowledge 
embraces  something  alien,  which  remains  alien  and 
leaves  us  cold ;  this  knowledge  embraces  the  knower 
himself  and  his  love,  and  he  loves  it.  Now,  although  it 
is  the  same  original  love  appearing  only  in  different 
forms  which  spurs  on  both  classes,  yet  disregarding  this 
circumstance  we  can  say  that  man  is  governed  in  the  one 
case  by  dim  feelings,  in  the  other  by  clear  knowledge. 

Now,  that  such  clear  knowledge  shall  be  a  direct 
incentive  in  life,  and  shall  be  capable  of  being  relied  on 
with  certainty  depends,  as  has  been  said,  on  this,  that 
the  real  true  love  of  man  is  to  be  interpreted  by  it,  that 


this  is  to  be  immediately  clear  to  him,  and  that  along 
with  the  interpretation  the  feeling  of  that  love  is  to  be 
/  stimulated  in  him  and  experienced  by  him.     Knowledge, 
/   therefore,  is  never  to  be  developed  in  him  without  love 
/      being  developed  at  the  same  time,  because  otherwise  he 
/       would  remain  cold  ;  nor  is  love  ever  to  be  developed  with 
out  knowledge  being  developed  at  the  same  time,  because 
\      otherwise  his  motive  would  be  a  dim  feeling.     At  every  step 
\      in  the  training,  then,  it  is  the  whole  man  as  a  unit  that  is 
\     fashioned.     The  man  who  is  always  treated  by  education 
1     as  an  indivisible  whole  will  remain  so  in  the  future,  and  all 
\   knowledge  will  inevitably  become  for  him  a  motive  in  life. 

34.  Clear    knowledge    instead    of    dim    feeling    being 
j  thus  made  the  first  and  true  foundation  and  starting- 
\  point  of  life,  ^sel^seeking  is_  avoided  altogether  and  cheated 

of  its  development.  For  it  is  dim  feeling  alone  that 
represents  to  man  his  ego  as  in  need  of  pleasure  and 
afraid  of  pain.  The  clear  idea  does  not  represent  it 
thus  to  him,  but  shows  it  rather  as  a  member  of  a  moral 
order  ;  and  there  is  a  love  for  that  order  which  is  kindled 
and  developed  along  with  the  development  of  the  idea. 
This  education  has  nothing  at  all  to  do  with  self-seeking, 
the  root  of  which,  dim  feeling,  it  kills  through  clearness. 
It  neither  attacks  it  nor  develops  it ;  it  has  nothing  at 
all  to  do  with  it.  Even  if,  later,  it  were  possible  for  this 
self-seeking  to  stir,  it  would  find  the  heart  already  filled 
with  a  higher  love  which  would  deny  it  a  place. 

35.  Now    this    fundamental    impulse    of    man,    when 
translated  into  clear  knowledge,  does  not  concern  itself 
with  a  world  which  is  already  given  and  existent,  which 
can  be  accepted,  indeed,  merely  passively  just  as  it  is,  and 
in  which  a  love  that  stimulates  to  original  creative  activity 
would  find  no  sphere  of  action  for  itself.     On  the  contrary, 
exalted  to  knowledge,  it  is  concerned  with  a  world  that 


is_to  be,  an  a  priori  world  that  exists  in  the  future  and' 
ever  remains  in  the  future.  The  divine  life,  therefore, 
that  underlies  all  appearance  reveals  itself  never  as  a  fixed 
and  known  entity,  but  as  something  that  is  to  be  ;  and 
after  it  has  become  what  it  was  to  be,  it  will  reveal  itself 
again  to  all  eternity  as  something  that  is  to  be.  This 
divine  life,  then,  never  appears  in  the  death  of  the  fixed 
entity,  but  remains  continually  in  the  form  of  ever- 
flowing  life.  The  direct  appearance  and  manifestation 
of  God  is  love.  The  interpretation  of  this  love  by 
knowledge  first  fixes  an  existence,  an  existence  that  ever 
is  to  be  ;  this  is  the  only  real  world,  in  so  far  as  a  world 
can  be  real.  The  other  world,  on  the  contrary,  which 
is  given  and  found  existing  by  us,  is  but  the  shadow  and 
phantom,  out  of  which  knowledge  builds  up  for  its  inter 
pretation  of  love  a  fixed  form  and  a  visible  body.  This^ 
other  world  is  the  means  for,  and  the  condition  of,  the 
perception  of  the  higher  world  that  is  in  itself  invisible. 
Not  even  in  that  higher  world  does  God  reveal  Himself 
directly,  but  there  too  only  through  the  medium  of  the 
one,  pure,  unchangeable,  and  formless  love ;  it  is  in  this 
love  alone  that  He  appears  directly.  To  this  love  there 
is  jpined^ntuitiyeknowledge,  which  brings^mth  it  ~an 
image  drawn  from  itself,  with  which  to  clothe  theobj  ect 
of  love  that  is, in  itself  invisible.  Yet  each  time  it  is 
opposed  by  love,  and  thereby  stimulated  again  to  make  a 
new  form,  which  is  once  again  opposed  in  just  the  same 
way.  Only  thus,  by  fusion  with  intuition,  does  love  too, 
which  purely  in  itself  is  one  and  quite  incapable  of  pro 
gress,  of  infinity,  and  of  eternity,  become  like  it  eternal 
!  and  infinite.  The  image  mentioned  just  now,  which  is 
;  supplied  from  knowledge  itself,  considered  by  itself  alone 
1  and  without  application  to  the  love  that  is  clearly  per- 
'  ceived,  is  the  fixed  and  given  world,  or  nature.  The 


delusion  that  God's  presence  reveals  itself  in  this  nature 
in  any  way  directly,  or  otherwise  than  through  the 
agencies  above  mentioned,  arises  from  darkness  of  mind 
and  profanity  of  will. 

36.  The  complete  avoidance  of  dim  feeling  as  a 
solvent  of  love  and  the  setting  up  in  its  stead  of  clear 
knowledge  as  the  usual  solvent,  as  has  already  been  men 
tioned,  can  happen  only  as  the  result  of  a  deliberate  art 
of  education,  and  hitherto  has  not  happened  in  this  way. 
By  this  means  too,  as  we  have  also  seen,  a  type  of  man 
quite  different  from  men  as  they  have  usually  been 
hitherto  will  be  introduced  and  become  the  rule.  As  the 
result  of  this  education,  therefore,  a  totally  new  order  of 
things  and  a  new  creation  would  begin.  Now,  in  this 
new  form,  mankind  would  fashion  itself  by  means  of  itself, 
for  mankind  considered  as  the  present  generation  educates 
itself  as  the  future  generation  ;  and  mankind  can  do  this 
only  by  means  of  knowledge,  the  one  common  true  light 
and  air  of  this  world  which  can  be  freely  imparted  and 
which  binds  the  spiritual  world  into  a  unity.  Formerly 
mankind  became  just  what  it  did  become  and  was  able  to 
become  ;  the  time  for  such  chance  development  has  gone 
by  ;  for  where  mankind  has  developed  most  it  has  become 
nothing.  If  it  is  not  to  remain  in  this  nothingness,  it 
must  henceforward  make  itself  all  that  it  is  yet  to  become. 
The  real  destiny  of  the  human  race  on  earth,  I  said  in  ; 
the  lectures  of  which  these  are  the  continuation,  is  in 
freedom  to  make  itself  what  it  really  is  originally.  Now, 
this  making  of  itself  deliberately,  and  according  to  rule, 
must  have  a  beginning  somewhere  and  at  some  moment 
in  space  and  time.  Thereby  a  second  great  period,  one 
of  free  and  deliberate  development  of  the  human  race, 
would  appear  in  place  of  the  first  period,  one  of  develop- 
I  ment  that  is  not  free.  We  are  of  opinion  that,  in  regard 


to  time,  this  is  the  very  time,  and  that  now  the  race  is 
exactly  midway  between  the  two  great  epochs  of  its 
life  on  earth.  But,  in  regard  to  space,  we  believe  that  it 
is  first  of  all  the  Germans  who  are  called  upon  to  begin 
the  new  era  as  pioneers  and  models  for  the  rest  of  mankind.  - 

37.  Yet  even  this  wholly  new  creation  will  not  result     | 
as  a  sudden  change  from  what   has  gone  before  ;    it  is 
rather,   especially  with  the   Germans,   the  true  natural 
continuation  and  consequence  of  the  past.     It  is  apparent 
and,  I  believe,  generally  granted  that  the  impulse  and 
effort  of  the  age  has  been  seeking  to  dispel  dim  feelings 
and  to  secure  the  sole  mastery  for  clearness  and  knowledge.  , 
This  effort   has  been  quite  successful   at   least    in   this, 
that  it  has  completely  revealed  the  nothingness  of  the 
past.      The   impulse    towards    clearness    should   not    be 
rooted  out,  nor  should  dull  acquiescence  in  dim  feeling 
again  obtain  the  mastery.     Rather  must  this  impulse  be 
developed  still  further  and  introduced  into  higher  spheres, 

so  that  when  the  Nothing  has  been  revealed,  the  Some 
thing,  the  positive  truth  that  sets  up  something  real, 
may  likewise  become  manifest.  The  world  of  given  and 
self-forming  existence,  which  arises  from  dim  feeling,  has 
been  submerged  and  shall  remain  below  the  surface. 
The  world,  however,  which  arises  from  original  clearness, 
the  world  of  existence  that  is  ever  to  be  evolved  from  the 
mind,  shall  dawn  and  shine  forth  in  its  splendour. 

38.  Truly  the  prophecy  of    a    new  life  in  such  forms 
will   probably   seem   strange   to   our   age,   which   would 
scarcely  have  the  courage  to  take  this  promise  to  itself, 
if  it  were  to    look    solely  at  the  tremendous  difference 
between  its   own   prevailing  opinions  on  these  matters 
and  those  which    have  been  expressed  as  principles  of 
the  new  era.     I  will  not  speak  of  the  education  which 
in  the  past,  as  a  rule,  only  the  higher  classes  received,  as  a 


privilege  not  to  be  extended  to  everyone,  and  which  was 
quite   silent    concerning   any   supersensuous   world,    and 
strove  merely  to  produce  some  skill  in  the  affairs  of  the 
sensuous    world.     It  was    obviously  the  worse    kind  of 
education.     But  I  will  look  only  at  what  was  popular 
education  and  could  also,  in  a  certain  very  limited  sense, 
be  called  national  education,  which  did  not  preserve  com 
plete  silence  concerning  a  supersensuous  world.     What 
were  the  doctrines  of  this  education  ?     We  put  forward 
as   the   fundamental   assumption   of   the   new   education 
that  there  is  at  the  root  of  man's  nature  a  pure  pleasure 
in  the  good,  which  can  be  developed  to  such  an  extent 
that  it  becomes  impossible  for  him  to  leave  undone  what 
he  knows  to  be  good  and  to  do  instead  what  he  knows  to 
be  evil.     The  existing  education,  on  the  other  hand,  has 
not  only  assumed,  but  has  also  taught  its  pupils  from 
early  youth  onwards,  that  man  has  a  natural  aversion  from 
God's  commandments,  and,  further,  that  it  is  absolutely 
impossible  for  him  to  keep  them.     What  else  can  be  ex 
pected  of  such  instruction,  if  it  is  taken  seriously  and 
believed,  than  that  each  individual  should  yield  to  his 
absolutely  unchangeable  nature,  should  not  try  to  achieve 
what   has  once  been  represented  to  him  as  impossible, 
and   should   not    desire   to   be   better   than   he    and    all 
others  can  be  ?     Indeed,  he  accepts  the  baseness  attri 
buted  to  him,  the  baseness  of  acknowledging  his  natural 
sinfulness  and  wickedness,  because  such  baseness  in  God's 
sight  is  represented  to  him  as  the  sole  means  of  coming  to 
terms  with  Him.     If  perchance  such  a  statement  as  ours 
comes  to  his  ears,  he  cannot  but  think  that  someone  merely 
wants  to  play  a  bad  joke  on  him,  because  he  has  an  ever- 
present  inward  feeling,  which  to  him  is  perfectly  clear, 
that  this  statement  is  not  true,  and  that  the  opposite 
alone  is  true.     We  presuppose  a  knowledge,  not  dependent 


on  any  given  existence,  but  on  the  contrary  itself  giving 
laws  for  that  existence,  and  propose  to  immerse  every 
child  of  man  in  this  knowledge  from  the  very  beginning, 
and  to  keep  him  from  that  time  onwards  continually 
under  its  rule.  On  the  other  hand,  we  regard  that 
nature  of  things  which  can  be  learned  only  from  history 
as  an  insignificant  accessory  that  follows  of'  itself.  When 
we  do  all  this,  then  the  ripest  products  of  the  old  educa 
tion  oppose  us,  reminding  us  that  it  is  well  known  there 
is  no  a  priori  knowledge,  and  saying  they  would  like  to 
know  how  there  can  be  any  knowledge  except  through 
experience.  In  order  that  this  supersenuous  and  a  priori 
world  should  not  reveal  itself  in  the  place  where  this 
seemed  unavoidable,  namely,  in  the  possibility  of  a 
knowledge  of  God,  and  that  even  in  God  Himself  there 
should  be  no  spiritual  spontaneity,  but  that  passive  sub 
mission  should  remain  all  in  all — to  meet  this  danger  the 
old  education  has  hit  upon  the  daring  expedient  of  making 
the  existence  of  .God  an  historical  fact,  the  truth  of  which 
is  established  by  the  examination  of  evidence. 

So  in  truth  the  matter  stands  ;  yet  our  generation 
should  not  therefore  despair  of  itself,  for  these  and  all 
other  similar  phenomena  are  themselves  not  independent, 
but  only  flowers  and  fruits  of  the  uncultivated  root  of 
the  past.  If  only  this  generation  submits  quietly  to  the  1 
grafting  of  a  new,  nobler,  and  stronger  root,  the  old  will 
be  killed,  and  its  flower  and  fruits,  deprived  of  further 
nourishment,  will  of  themselves  wither  and  fall.  As  yet  ' 
this  generation  cannot  believe  our  words ;  it  is  inevitable 
that  they  seem  to  it  like  fairy  tales.  Nor  do  we  want  such 
belief  ;  we  want  only  room  to  work  and  to  act.  After 
wards  it  will  see,  and  it  will  believe  its  own  eyes. 

39.  Everyone  who  is  acquainted  with  the  productions 
of  recent  years  will  have  noticed  long  ago  that  here  again 



those  principles  and  views  are  expressed  which  modern 
German  philosophy  since  its  origin  has  preached  again 
and  again,  because  it  could  do  nothing  else  but  preach. 
It    is    now   sufficiently   clear    that    these    sermons   have 
vanished  without  result  into  thin  air,  and  the  reason  for 
this  is  evident  too.     A  living  thing  affects  only  something 
living  ;    but  in  the  actual  life  of  the  age  there  is  no  rela 
tionship  at  all  with  this  philosophy,  which  goes  its  own 
way  in  a  sphere  that  is  not  yet  revealed  to  this  age,  and 
which  calls  for  sense-organs  that  it  has  not  yet  developed. 
(This  philosophy  is  not  at  home  in  our  age,  but  is  an 
I  anticipation  of   time,   and   a   principle  of  life   ready  in 
advance  for  a  generation  which  shall  first  awake  to  light 
in  it.     It  must  give  up  all  claim  on  the  present  genera 
tion  ;    but,  in  order  not  to  be  idle  until  then,  let  it  now 
undertake  the  task  of  fashioning  for  itself  the  generation 
to  which  it  does  belong.     As  soon  as  this,  its  immediate 
business,  has  become  clear  to  it,  it  will  be  able  to  live  in 
peace  and  friendship  with   a   generation  which  in  other 
respects  does  not  please  it.     The  education  which  we  have 
hitherto    described    is    likewise    the    education    for    this 
philosophy.     Yet  in  a  certain  sense  it  alone  can  be  the 
educator  in  this  education  ;    and  so  it  had  to  be  a  fore 
runner    neither    understood    nor    acceptable.     But    the 
time  will  come  when  it  will  be  understood  and  received 
with  joy  ;    and  that  is  why  our  generation  should  not 
despair  of  itself. 

40.  Let  this  generation  hearken  to  the  vision  of  an 
ancient  prophet  in  a  situation  no  less  lamentable.  Thus 
says  the  prophet  l  by  the  river  of  Chebar,  the  comforter 
of  those  in  captivity,  not  in  their  own,  but  in  a  foreign 
land.  "  The  hand  of  the  Lord  was  upon  me,  and  carried 
me  out  in  the  spirit  of  the  Lord,  and  set  me  down  in  the 
1  [Ezekiel  xxxvii.  i-io.  I  have  used  the  Authorised  Version  here.] 


midst  of  the  valley  which  was  full  of  bones,  and  caused 
me  to  pass  by  them  round  about  :  and,  behold,  there 
were  very  many  in  the  open  valley  ;  and,  lo,  they  were 
very  dry.  And  He  said  unto  me,  Son  of  man,  can  these 
bones  live  ?  And  I  answered,  O  Lord  God,  thou  knowest. 
Again  He  said  unto  me,  Prophesy  upon  these  bones,  and 
say  unto  them,  O  ye  dry  bones,  hear  the  word  of  the 
Lord.  Thus  saith  the  Lord  God  unto  these  bones, 
Behold,  I  will  cause  breath  to  enter  into  you,  and  ye  shall 
live  :  and  I  will  lay  sinews  upon  you,  and  will  bring  up 
flesh  upon  you,  and  cover  you  with  skin,  and  put  breath 
in  you,  and  ye  shall  live  ;  and  ye  shall  know  that  I  am 
the  Lord.  So  I  prophesied  as  I  was  commanded  :  and 
as  I  prophesied,  there  was  a  noise,  and  behold  a  shaking, 
and  the  bones  came  together,  bone  to  his  bone.  And 
when  I  beheld,  lo,  the  sinews  and  the  flesh  came  up  upon 
them,  and  the  skin  covered  them  above  ;  but  there  was 
no  breath  in  them.  Then  said  He  unto  me,  Prophesy 
unto  the  wind,  prophesy,  son  of  man,  and  say  to  the 
wind,  Thus  saith  the  Lord  God,  Come  from  the  four 
winds,  O  breath,  and  breathe  upon  these  slain,  that  they 
may  live.  So  I  prophesied  as  He  commanded  me,  and 
the  breath  came  into  them,  and  they  lived,  and  stood 
up  upon  their  feet,  an  exceeding  great  army." 

Though  the  elements  of  our  higher  spiritual  life  may 
be  just  as  dried  up,  and  though  the  bonds  of  our  national 
unity  may  lie  just  as  torn  asunder  and  as  scattered  in 
wild  disorder  as  the  bones  of  the  slain  in  the  prophecy, 
though  they  may  have  whitened  and  dried  for  centuries 
in  tempests,  rainstorms,  and  burning  sunshine,  the 
quickening  breath  of  the  spiritual  world  has  not  yet 
ceased  to  blow.  It  will  take  hold,  too,  of  the  dead  bones 
of  our  national  body,  and  join  them  together,  that  they  / 
may  stand  glorious  in  new  'and  radiant  life.  ' 



(41.  WE  have  said  that  the  means  of  educating  a  new  race 
of  men,  which  is  being  put  forward  in  these  addresses, 
must  first  be_  applied  by  Germans  to  Germans,  and  that 
it   concerns  our   nation  in   a   special  and  peculiar  way. 
This  statement  also  requires  proof  ;    and  here,  as  before, 
we  shall  begin  with  what   is  highest  and  most  general, 
showing  what   is   the   characteristic   of    the   German   as 
such,  apart  from  the   fate   that  has  now  befallen  him  ; 
showing,  too,  that  this  has  been  his  characteristic  ever 
since^  he   began   to— exist  ;     ancTpointing   out   how  this 
fi  characteristic  in  itself  gives  him  alone,  above  all  other 
f  European  nations,  the  capacity  of  responding  to  such  an 
I  education. 

42.  In  the  first  place,  the  German  is  a  branch  of  the 
Teutonic  race.  Of  the  latter  it  is  sufficient  to  say  here 
that  its  mission  wasjto_cgmbinejthe  socialorder_established 
in  ancient  Europe  with  the  true  jejigion  preserved  in 
ancient  jVsia,  and  in  this  way  to  develop  in  and  by  itself 
a  new  and  different  age  after  the  ancient  world  had 
perished.  Further,  it  is  sufficient  to  distinguish  the  German 
particularly,  in  contrast  only  to  the  other  Teutonic  peoples 
who  came  into  existence  with  him.  Other  neo-European 
nations,  as,  for  instance,  those  of  Slav  descent,  do  not  seem 
as  yet  to  have  developed  distinctly  enough  in  comparison 



with  the  rest  of  Europe  to  make  it  possible  to  give  a 
definite  description  of  them  ;  whereas  others  of  the  same 
Teutonic  descent,  as,  for  instance,  the  Scandinavians, 
although  the  main  reason  for  differentiation  (which  will 
be  stated  immediately)  does  not  apply  to  them,  are  yet  ~ 
regarded  here  as  indisputably  Germans,  and  included  in 
all  the  general  consequences  of  our  observations. 

43.  But  at  the  very  outset  the  special  observations 
which  we  are  now  on  the  point  of  making  must  be  pre 
faced  by  the  following  remark.  As  the  cause  of  the 
differentiation  that  has  taken  place  in  what  was  originally 
one  stock  I  shall  cite  an  event  which,  considered  merely 
as  an  event,  lies  clear  and  incontestable  before  the  eyes 
of  all.  I  shall  then  adduce  some  manifestations  of  the 
differentiation  that  has  taken  place  ;  and  these  manifesta 
tions,  considered  merely  as  events,  could  perhaps  be 
made  just  as  clear  and  obvious.  But  with  regard  to  the 
connection  of  the  latter,  as  consequences,  with  the 
former,  as  their  cause,  and  with  regard  to  the  deduction 
of  the  consequences  from  the  cause,  I  cannot,  speaking 
generally,  reckon  upon  being  equally  clear  and  con 
vincing  to  everyone.  It  is  true  that  in  this  matter  also 
I  am  not  making  entirely  new  statements  which  no  one 
has  heard  of  before  ;  on  the  contrary,  there  are  among 
us  many  individuals  who  are  either  well  prepared  for 
such  a  view  of  the  matter,  or  perhaps  already  familiar 
with  it.  Among  the  majority,  however,  there  are  in 
circulation  ideas  about  the  subject  of  our  discussion 
which  differ  greatly  from  our  own.  To  correct  such 
ideas,  and  to  refute  all  the  objections  to  single  points 
that  might  be  raised  by  those  who  are  not  practised  in 
taking  a  comprehensive  view  of  a  subject,  would  far 
exceed  the  limits  of  our  time  and  our  intention.  I  must 
content  myself  with  placing  before  such  people,  merely 


as  a  subject  for  their  further  consideration,  what  I  have 
to  say  in  this  connection,  remarking  that  in  my  system  of 
thought  it  does  not  stand  so  separate  and  detached  as 
it  appears  in  this  place,  nor  is  it  without  a  foundation 
in  the  depths  of  knowledge.  I  could  not  omit  it  entirely, 
partly  on  account  of  the  thoroughness  of  treatment 
demanded  by  my  whole  subject,  and  partly  because  of 
its  important  consequences,  which  will  appear  later  in 
the  course  of  our  addresses,  and  which  are  intimately 
connected  with  our  present  design. 

44.  The    first     and    immediately    obvious     difference 
between   the   fortunes   of   t^e   Germans   and   the   other 
branches  which  grew  from  the  same  root  is  this  :    the 
former  remained  in  the  original^  dwelling-places  of  the 
ancestraLstpck,  whereas   the  latter   emigrated  to   other 
places  ;    the  former  retained  and  developed  the  original 
language. of  the  ancestral  stock,  whereas  the  latter  adopted 
a  foreign  language  and  gradually  reshaped  it  in  a  way  of 
their  own.     This  earliest  difference  must  be  regarded  as 
the  explanation  of  those  which  came  later,  e.g.,  that  in 

/fKe  originaTtattefferTd^in  accordance  with  Teutonic 
primitive  custom,  there  continuecTtirfaea,  federation  of 

LStateTunS^fTTieaa^vSh  limite3Tpowefs7wEereaT in  the 
foreign  countries  the  form  of  government  was  brought 
more  in  accordance  with  the  existing  Roman  method, 
and  monarchies  were  established,  etc.  It  is  not  these 
later  differences  that  explain  the  one  first  mentioned. 

45.  Now,  of  the  changes  which  have  been  indicated, 
the   first,   the   change   of   home,   is    quite   unimportant. 
Man  easily  makes  himself  at  home  under  any  sky,  and  the 


by  the  place  of  abode,  dominates  and  changes  the  latter 
after  its  own  pattern.  Moreover,  the  variety  of  natural 
influences  in  the  region  inhabitated  by  the  Teutons  is 


not  very  great.  Just  as  little  importance  should  be 
attached  to  the  fact  that  the  Teutonic  race  has  inter 
mingled  with  the  former  inhabitants  of  the  countries  it 
conquered  ;  for,  after  all,  the  victors  and  masters  and 
makers  of  the  new  people  that  arose  from  this  inter 
mingling  were  none  but  Teutons.  Moreover,  in  the 
mother-country  there  was  an  intermingling  with  Slavs 
similar  to  that  which  took  place  abroad  with  Gauls, 
Cantabrians,  etc.,  and  perhaps  of  no  less  extent  ;  so 
that  it  would  not  be  easy  at  the  present  day  for  any  one 
of  the  peoples  descended  from  Teutons  to  demonstrate 
a  greater  purity  of  descent  than  the  others. 

46.  More  important,  however,  and  in  my  opinion  the 
cause  of  a  complete  contrast  between  the  Germans  and 
the  other  peoples  of  Teutonic  descent,  is  the  second 
change,  the  change  ~o,f  language.  Here,  as  I  wish  to  point 
out  distinctly  at  the  very  beginning,  fit  is  not  a  question 
of  the  special  quality  of  the  language  retained  by  the  one 
branch  or  adopted  by  the  other  ;  on  the  contrary,  the 
importance  lies  solely  in  the  fact  that  in  the  one  case 
something  native  is_retained,  while  in  the~  other  case 
something  ^foreign  is  adopted.  Nor  is  it  a  question  of 
the  previous  ancestry  of  those  who  continue  to  speak  an 
original  language  ;  on  the  contrary,  the  importance 
lies  solely  in  the  fact  that  this  language  continues  to  be 
spoken,  for  ,rjiejfl  are  formed  b^Janguage  far  more  than""] 

language  is  formed  by  men. 

47.  In  order  to  make  clear,  so  far  as  explanation  is 
possible  and  necessary  in  this  place,  the  consequences  of 
such  a  difference  in  the  creation  of  peoples,  and  to  make 
clear  the  particular  kind  of  contrast  in  national  character 
istics  that  necessarily  follows  from  this  difference,  I  must 
invite  you  to  a  consideration  of  the  nature  of  language 
in  general. 


Language  in  general,  and  especially  the  designation 
of  objects  in  language  by  sounds  from  the  organs  of 
speech,  is  in  no  way  dependent  on  arbitrary  decisions 
and  agreements.  On  the  contrary  there  is,  to  begin  with, 
a  fundamental  law,  in  accordance  with  which  every  idea 
becomes  in  the  human  organs  of  speech  one  particular 
sound  and  no  other.  Just  as  objects  are  represented  in 
the  sense-organs  of  an  individual  by  a  definite  form, 
colour,  etc.,  so  they  are  represented  in  language,  which  is 
the  organ  of  social  man,  by  a  definite  sound.  It  is  not 
really  man  that  speaks,  but  human  nature  speaks  in  him 
and  announces  itself  to  others  of  his  kind.  Hence  one 
should  say  :  There  is  and  can  be  but  one  single  language. 

Now  indeed,  and  this  is  the  second  point,  language 
in  this  unity  for  man,  simply  as  man,  may  never  and  no 
where  have  arisen.  Everywhere  it  may  have  been  further 
changed  and  formed  by  two  groups  of  influences ;  firstly, 
those  exerted  on  the  organs  of  speech  by  the  locality 
and  by  more  or  less  frequent  use,  and,  secondly,  those 
exerted  on  the  order  of  the  designations  by  the  order 
in±s_^vere  observed  and,  designated.  Never 
theless,  in  this  also  there  is  no  chance  or  arbitrariness, 
but  strict  law  ;  and  in  an  organ  of  speech  thus  affected  by 
the  conditions  mentioned  there  necessarily  arises,  not 
the  one  pure  human  language,  but  a  deviation  therefrom, 
and,  moreover,  this  particular  deviation  and  no  other. 

If  we  give  the  name  of  people  to  men  whose_organs  of 
speech  -are  influenced  by  the  same  external  conditions, 
who  live  together,  and  who  develop  their  language  in 
continuous  communication  with  each  other,  then  we 
must  say  :  The  language  of  this  people  is  necessarily 
just  what  it  is,  and  in  reality  this  people  does  not  express 
its  knowledge,  but  its  knowledge  expresses  itself  out  of 
the  mouth  of  the  people. 


48.  Despite  all  the  changes  brought  about,  as  the 
language  progresses,  by  the  circumstances  mentioned 
above,  this  conformity  with  law  remains  uninterrupted  ; 
and  indeed,  for  all  who  remain  in  uninterrupted  com 
munication,  and  who  all  hear  in  due  course  whatever 
any  individual  for  the  first  time  expresses,  there  is  one 
and  the  same  conformity  with  law.  After  thousands  of 
years,  and  after  all  the  changes  undergone  in  that  time 
by  the  external  manifestation  of  the  language  of  this 
people,  it  ever  remains  nature's  one,  same,  living  power 
of  speech,  which  in  the  beginning  necessarily  arose  in  the 
way  it  did,  which  has  flowed  down  through  all  conditions 
without  interruption,  and  in  each  necessarily  became  what 
it  did  become,  which  in  the  end  necessarily  was  what  it 
now  is,  and  in  time  to  come  necessarily  will  be  what  it 
then  will  be.  The  pure  human  language,  in  conjunction^ 
first  with  the  speech-organ  of  the  people  when  its  first 
sound  was  uttered,  and  the  product  of  these,  in  conjunc 
tion  further  with  all  the  developments  which  this  first 
sound  in  the  given  circumstances  necessarily  acquired- 
all  this  together  gives  as  its  final  result  the  present  language 
of  the  people.  For  that  reason,  too,  the  language  always 
remains  the  same  language.  Even  though,  after  some 
centuries  have  passed7The  descendants  do  not  understand 
the  language  of  their  ancestors,  because  for  them  the 
transitions  have  been  lost,  nevertheless  there  is  from  the 
beginning  a  continuous  transition  without  a  leap,  a 
transition^ always  imperceptible  at  the  time,  and  only 
made  perceptible  when  further  transitions  occur  and  the 
whole  process  appears  as  a  leap  forward.  There  has  never 
been  a  time  when  contemporaries  ceased  to  understand 
each  other,  for  their  eternal  go-between  and  interpreter 
always  was,  and  has  continued  to  be,  the  common  power 
of  nature  speaking  through  them  all.  Such  is  the  con- 


dition  of  language,  considered  as  the  designation  of  objects 
directly  perceived  by  the  senses  ;  and  in  the  beginning 
all  human  language  is  this.  When  the  people  raises 
itself  from  this  stage  of  sensuous  perception  to  a  grasp 
of  the  supersensuous,  then,  if  this  supersensuous  is  to 
be  repeated  at  will  and  kept  from  being  confused  with  the 
sensuous  by  the  first  individual,  and  if  it  is  to  be  com 
municated  to  others  for  their  convenience  and  guidance, 
the  only  way  at  first  to  keep  firm  hold  of  it  will  be  to 
designate  a  Self  as  the  instrument  of  a  supersensuous 
world  and  to  distinguish  it  precisely  from  the  same  Self  as 
the  instrument  of  the  sensuous  world  —  to  contrast  a  soul, 
a  mind,  etc.,  with  a  physical  body.  As  all  the  various 
objects  of  this  supersensuous  world  appear  only  in  and 
exist  for  that  supersensuous  instrument,  the  only  possible 
way  of  designating  them  in  language  would  be  to  say 
that  their  special  relation  to  their  instrument  is  similar 
to  the  relation  of  such-and-such  particular  sensuous 
objects  to  the  sensuous  instrument,  and  in  this  relation 
to  compare  a  particular  supersensuous  thing  with  a 
particular  sensuous  one,  using  this  comparison  to  indicate 
by  language  the  place  of  the  supersensuous  thing  in  the 
supersensuous  instrument.  In  this  sphere  language  has 
no  further  power  ;  it  gives  a  sensuous  image  of  the 
supersensuous  thing,  merely  with  the  remark  that  it  is 
an  image  of  that  kind  ;  he  who  wishes  to  attain  to  the 
thing  itself  must  set  his  own  mental  instrument  in  motion 
according  to  the  rule  given  him  by  the  image.  Speaking 
T  generally,  it  is  evident  that  this  designation  of  the  super- 
sensuous  by  means^of^jensuous  images  must  in  every 
-bertogcTitioned  by  the  stage  of  development  which 

!the  power  of  sensuo'us  perception  has  reached  in  the 
p.eople  under  -consideration.  Hence,  the  origin  and  pro 
gress  of  this  designation  by  sensuous  images  will  be  very 


different  in  different  languages  and  will  depend  on  the 
difference  in  the  relation  that  has  existed  and  continues 
to  exist  between  the  sensuous  and  intellectual  develop 
ment  of  the  people  speaking  a  language. 

49.  We  shall  next  illustrate  this  observation,  clear 
though  it  is  in  itself,  by  an  example.  Anything  that  arises, 
according  to  the  conception  of  the  fundamental  impulse 
explained  in  the  preceding  address,  directly  in  clear 
perception  and  not  in  the  first  place  in  dim  feeling— 
anything  of  this  kind,  and  it  is  always  a  supersensuous 
object,  is  denoted  by  a  Greek  word  which  is  frequently 
used  in  the  German  language  also  ;  it  is  called  an  Idea 
[German,  Idee\ ;  and  this  word  conveys  exactly  the  same 
sensuous  image  as  the  word  Gesicbt  in  German,  which 
occurs  in  the  following  expressions  in  Luther's  translation 
of  the  Bible  :  Ye  shall  see  visions  \Gesicb te\9  ye  shall 
dream  dreams.  Idea  or  Vision,  in  its  sensuous  meaning, 
would  be  something  that  could  be  perceived  only  by  the 
bodily  eye  and  not  by  any  other  sense  such  as  taste, 
hearing,  etc. ;  it  would  be  such  a  thing  as  a  rainbow,  or 
the  forms  which  pass  before  us  in  dreams.  Idea  or 
Vision,  in  its  supersensuous  meaning,  would  denote, 
first  of  all,  in  conformity  with  the  sphere  in  which  the 
word  is  to  be  valid,  something  that  cannot  be  perceived 
by  the  body  at  all,  but  only  by  the  mind  ;  and  then, 
something  that  cannot,  as  many  other  things  can,  be 
perceived  by  the  dim  feeling  of  the  mind,  but  only  by  the 
eye  of  the  mind,  by  clear  perception.  Further,  even  if 
one  were  inclined  to  assume  that  for  the  Greeks  the  basis 
of  this  sensuous  designation  was  certainly  the  rainbow  and 
similar  phenomena,  one  would  have  to  admit  that  their 
sensuous  perception  had  already  advanced  to  the  stage 
of  noticing  this  difference  between  things,  viz.,  that  some 
reveal  themselves  to  all  or  several  senses  and  others  to 


the  eye  alone,  and  that,  besides,  if  the  developed  conception 
had  become  clear  to  them,  they  would  have  had  to  desig 
nate  it  not  in  this  way  but  in  some  other.  Also  their 
superior  mental  clearness  would  then  be  evident  as 
compared,  say,  with  that  of  another  people  which  was 
not  able  to  indicate  the  difference  between  the  sensuous 
and  the  supersensuous  by  an  image  taken  from  the 
deliberate  waking  state,  but  had  gone  to  dreams  to  find 
an  image  for  another  world.  It  would  at  the  same  time 
be  plain  that  this  difference  was  not  based  on  the  greater 
or  smaller  strength  of  the  sense  for  the  supersensuous  in 
the  two  peoples,  but  solely  on  the  difference  between  their 
sensuous  clearness  at  the  time  when  they  sought  to  desig 
nate  supersensuous  things. 

/  50.  Thus  all  designation  of  the  supersensuous  is  con 
ditioned  by  the  extent  and  clearness  of  sensuous  percep 
tion  in  him  who  gives  the  designation.  The  image  is 
clear  to  him  and  expresses  to  him  in  an  entirely  com 
prehensible  way  the  relation  of  the  thing  conceived  to 
the' mental  instrument,  because  this  relation  is  explained 
to  him  by  another,  direct,  and  living  relation  to  his 
sensuous  instrument.  The  new  designation  which  thus 
arises,  together  with  all  the  new  clearness  which  sensuous 
perception  itself  acquires  by  this  extended  use  of  the  sign, 
is  now  deposited  in  the  language  ;  and  the  supersensuous 
perception  possible  in  the  future  is  now  designated  in 
accordance  with  its  relation  to  the  total  supersensuous 
and  sensuous  perception  deposited  in  the  whole  language. 
So  it  goes  on  without  interruption,  and  so  the  immediate 
clearness  and  comprehensibility  of  the  images  is  never 
broken  off,  but  remains  a  continuous  stream.  More 
over,  since  language  is  not  an  arbitrary  means  of  com 
munication,  but  breaks  forth  out  of  the  life  of  under 
standing  as  an  immediate  force  of  nature,  a  language 


continuously  developed   according  to   this  law  has   also- 
the'  power  oT immediately  affecting  and  stimulating  life. 
Just    as   things   immediately   present   influence   man,    so 
must  the  words  of  such  a  language  influence  him  who 
understands  them  ;    for  they,  too,  are  things,  and  not  an 
arbitrary    contrivance.      Such    is    the    case    first    in    the 
sensuous  world.     Nor  is  it  otherwise  in  the  supersensuous ; 
for,  although  in  the  latter  the  continuous  process  of  observ 
ing    nature    is    interrupted    by    free    contemplation    and 
reflection,  and  at  this  point  God  who  is  without  image 
appears,  yet  designation  by  language  at  once  inserts  the 
Thing-without-image   in   the   continuous   connection   of 
things  which  have  an  image.     So,  in   this   respect  also, 
the  continuous  progress  of  language,  which  broke  forth 
in  the  beginning    as  a  force  of  nature,  remains  uninter 
rupted,  and  into  the  stream  of  designation  no  arbitrari 
ness  enters.     For  the  same  reason  the  supersensuous  part 
of  a  language  thus  continuously  developed  cannot  lose 
its  power  of  stimulating  life  in  him  who  but   sets  his 
mental   instrument   in   motion.     The  words   of   such   a 
language  in  all  its  parts  are  life  and  create  life.     Now  if, 
in  respect  of  the  development  of  the  language  for  what 
is  supersensuous,  we  make  the  assumption  that  the  people  i 
of  this  language  have  continued  in  unbroken  communica-  1 
tion,  and  that  what  oiTte  has  thought  and  expressed^ has  j 
before  long  come  to  the  knowledge  of  all,  then  what  has  / 
previously  been  said  in  general  is  valid  for  all  who  speak  / 
this   language.      ±o    all   who   will   but   think  the   image' 
deposited  in  the  language  is  clear  ;    to   all  who  really 
think  it  is  alive  and  stimulates  their  life. 

51.  Such  is  the  case,  I  say,  with  a  language  which, 
from  the  time  the  first  sound  broke  forth  among  the  same 
people,  has  developed  continuously  out  of  the  actual 
common  life  of  this  people,  and  into  which  no  element 


has  ever  entered  that  did  not  express  an  observation 
actually  experienced  by  this  people,  and,  moreover, 
an  observation  standing  in  a  connection  of  wide-spread 
reciprocal  influence  with  all  the  other  observations  of 
the  same  people.  It  does  not  matter  if  ever  so  many 
-.individuals  of  other  race  and  other  language  are  incorpora- 
I  ted  with  the  people  speaking  this  language";  provided 
the  former  are  not  permitted  to  bring  the  sphere  of  their 
observations  up  to  the  position  from  which  the  language 
is  thereafter  to  develop,  they  remain  dumb  in  the  com 
munity  and  without  influence  on  the  language,  until 
the  time  comes  when  they  themselves  have  entered  into 
the  sphere  of  observation  of  the  original  people.  Hence 
I  they  do  not  form  the  language  ;  it  is  the  language  which 
forms  them. 

-  -»52.  But  the  exact  opposite  of  all  that  has  so  far  been 
(  said  takes  place~when~!Tpeople  gives  up  its  own  language 
)  and  adopts  a  foreign  one  which  is  already  highly  developed 
'•  as  regards  the  designation  of  supersensuous  things.  I 
do  not  mean  when  it  yields  itself  quite  freely  to  the 
influence  of  this  foreign  language  and  is  quite  content 
to  remain  without  a  language  until  it  has  entered  into 
the  circle  of  observation  of  this  foreign  language,  but  when 
it  forces  its  own  circle  of  observation  on  the  adopted 
language,  which,  when  it  develops  from  the  position  in 
which  they  found  it,  must  thenceforward  proceed  in  this 
circle  of  observation.  In  respect  of  the  sensuous  part 
of  the  language,  such  an  event,  indeed,  is  without  con 
sequences.  For  among  every  people  the  children  must 
in  any  case  learn  that  part  of  the  language  just  as  if  the 
signs  were  arbitrary,  and  thus  recapitulate  in  this  matter 
the  whole  previous  linguistic  development  of  the  nation. 
But  in  this  sphere  of  the  senses  every  sign  can  be  made 
quite  clear  by  directly  looking  at  or  touching  the  thing 


designated.  At  most,  the  result  of  this  would  be  that 
the  first  generation  of  a  people  which  thus  changed  its 
language  would  be  compelled  when  adults  to  go  back 
to  the  years  of  childhood ;  with  their  descendants, 
however,  and  with  subsequent  generations,  everything 
would  doubtless  be  in  the  old  order  again.  On  the  other 
hand,  this  change  has  consequences  of  the  greatest  impor 
tance  in  respect  of  the  supersensuous  part  of  the  language. 
For  the  first  possessors  of  the  language  this  part  was 
formed  in  the  way  already  described  ;  but,  for  those  who 
acquire  the  language  later,  the  verbal  image  contains  a 
comparison  with  an  observation  of  the  senses,  which 
they  have  either  passed  over  long  ago  without  the  accom 
panying  mental  development,  or  else  have  not  yet  had, 
and  perhaps  never  can  have.  The  most  that  they 
can  do  in  such  a  case  is  to  let  the  verbal  image  and  its^ 
mental  significance  explain  each  other ;  in  this  way  they 
receive  the  flat  and  dead  history  of  a  foreign  culture 
but  not  in  any  way  a  culture  of  their  own.  They  ger 
symbols  which  for  them  are  neither  immediately  clear 
nor  able  to  stimulate  life,  but  which  must  seem  to  them 
entirely  as  arbitrary  as  the  sensuous  part  of  the  language. 
For  them  this  advent  of  history,  and  nothing  but  history, 
as  expositor,  makes  the  language  dead  and  closed  in  respect  (A 
of  its  whole  sphere  of  imagery,  and  its  continuous  onward 
flow  is  broken  off.  Although,  beyond  this  sphere,  they^ 
may  again  develop  the  language  as  a  living  language  in 
their  own  way  and  so  far  as  this  is  possible  from  such  a 
starting-point,  nevertheless  that  element  remains  a 
dividing  wall  at  which,  without  exception,  language  in  its 
original  emergence  from  life  as  a  force  of  nature  and  the 
actual  language's  renewal  of  contact  with  life  are  broken. 
Although  such  a  language  may  be  stirred  on  the  surface 
by  the  wind  of  life  and  thus  present  the  appearance  of 



having  a  life  of  its  own,  nevertheless  it  has  a  dead  element 
deeper  down,  and  by  the  entrance  of  the  new  circle  of 
observation  and  the  breach  with  the  old  one  it  is  cut  off 
from  the  living  root. 

53.  We  proceed  to  illustrate  the  foregoing  by  an 
example,  remarking  incidentally  that  such  a  language, 
at  bottom  dead  and  incomprehensible,  very  easily  lends 
itself  to  perversion  and  to  misuse  in  glossing  over  every 
kind  of  human  corruption,  and  that  this  is  not  possible 
in  a  language  which  has  never  died.  I  take  as  my  example 
the  three  notorious  words,  Humanity,  Popularity,  and 
Liberality.  When  these  words  are  used  in  speaking  to 
a  German  who  has  learnt  no  language  but  his  own  they 
are  to  him  nothing  but  a  meaningless  noise,  which  has 
no  relationship  of  sound  to  remind  him  of  anything  he 
knows  already  and  so  takes  him  completely  out  of  his 
circle  of  observation  and  beyond  any  observation  possible 
to  him.  Now,  if  the  unknown  word  nevertheless  attracts 
his  attention  by  its  foreign,  distinguished,  and  euphonious 
tone,  and  if  he  thinks  that  what  sounds  so  lofty  must 
also  have  some  lofty  meaning,  he  must  have  this  meaning 
explained  to  him  from  the  very  beginning  and  as  some 
thing  entirely  new  to  him,  and  he  can  only  accept  this 
explanation,  blindly.  So  he  becomes  tacitly  accus 
tomed  to  acknowledge  as  really  existing  and  valuable 
something  which,  if  left  to  himself,  he  would  perhaps 
never  have  found  worth  mentioning.  Let  no  one 
believe  that  the  case  is  much  different  with  the  neo-Latin 
peoples,  who  utter  those  words  as  if  they  were  words 
of  their  mother-tongue.  Without  a  scholarly  study  of 
antiquity  and  of  its  actual  language  they  understand 
the  roots  of  those  words  just  as  little  as  the  German 
does.  Now  if,  instead  of  the  word  Humanity  [Human- 
itdi],  we  had  said  to  a  German  the  word  Menschlichkeit, 


which  is  its  literal  translation,  he  would  have  understood 
us  without  further  historical  explanation,  but  he  would 
have  said  :  "  Well,  to  be  a  man  [Mensch~\  and  not  a  wild 
beast  is  not  very  much  after  all."  Now  it  may  be  that 
no  Roman  would  ever  have  said  that  ;  but  the  German 
would  say  it,  because  in  his  language  manhood  [Mensch- 
heif\  has  remained  an  idea  of  the  senses  only  and  has 
never  become  a  symbol  of  a  supersensuous  idea  as  it  did 
among  the  Romans.  Our  ancestors  had  taken  note  of 
the  separate  human  virtues  and  designated  them  symboli 
cally  in  language  perhaps  long  before  it  occurred  to  them 
to  combine  them  in  a  single  concept  as  contrasted  with 
animal  nature  ;  and  that  is  no  discredit  to  our  ancestors 
as  compared  with  the  Romans.  Now  anyone  who,  in 
spite  of  this,  wished  to  introduce  that  foreign  and  Roman 
symbol  artificially  and,  as  it  were,  by  a  trick  into  the 
language  of  the  Germans,  would  obviously  be  lowering 
their  ethical  standard  in  passing  on  to  them  as  distinguished 
and  commendable  something  which  may  perhaps  be  so 
in  the  foreign  language,  but  which  the  German,  in  accord 
ance  with  the  ineradicable  nature  of  his  national  power 
of  imagination,  only  regards  as  something  already  known 
and  indispensable.  A  closer  examination  might  enable  * 
us  to  demonstrate  that  those  Teutonic  races  which  j 
adopted  the  Latin  language  experienced,  even  in  the  | 
beginning,  similar  degradations  of  their  former  ethical  I 
standard  because  of  inappropriate  foreign  symbols  ;  \ 
but  on  this  circumstance  we  do  not  now  wish  to  lay  too 
great  a  stress. 

Further,  if  in  speaking  to  the  German,  instead  of  the 
words  Popularity  \_Popularitat]  and  Liberality  \Liber- 
alitat],  I  should  use  the  expressions,  "  striving  for  favour 
with  the  great  mob,"  and  "  not  having  the  mind  of  a 
slave,"  which  is  how  they  must  be  literally  translated, 



he  would,  to  begin  with,  not  even  obtain  a  clear  and  vivid 
sense-image  such  as  was  certainly  obtained  by  a  Roman  of 
old.     The  latter  saw  every  day  with  his  own  eyes  the 
flexible  politeness  of  an  ambitious  candidate  to  all  and 
sundry,  and  outbursts  of  the  slave  mind  too  ;    and  those 
words  vividly  re-presented  these   things  to  him.     Even 
from   the    Roman    of   a   later   period   these   sights   were 
removed  by  the  change  in  the  form  of  government  and 
the  introduction  of  Christianity ;    and,  besides,  his  own 
language  was  beginning  to  a  great  extent  to   die  away 
in  his   own   mouth.     This  was   more   especially   due  to 
Christianity,  which    was    alien    to    him,    and    which    he 
i  could  neither  ward  off  nor  thoroughly  assimilate.     How 
'was  impossible  for  this  language,  already  half  dead  in  its 
own  home,  to  be  transmitted  alive  to  a  foreign  people  ? 
How  could  it  now  be  transmitted  to  us  Germans  ?     More 
over,  with   regard    to   the   symbolic   mental  content   of 
both  those  expressions,  there  is  in  the  word  Popularity, 
even  at  the  very  beginning,  something  base,  which  was 
perverted  in  their  mouths  and  became  a  virtue,  owing  to 
the   corruption   of   the   nation   and   of   its   constitution. 
The  German  never  falls  into  this  perversion,  so  long  as 
it  is 'put  before  him  in  his  own  language.     But  when 
Liberality  is  translated  by  saying  that   a  man  has  not 
the  soul  of  a  slave,  or,  to  give  it  a  modern  rendering,  has 
not  a  lackey's  way  of  thinking,  he  once  more  replies  that 
to  say  this  also  means  very  little. 

Moreover,  into  these  verbal  images,  which  even  in  their 

pure  form  among  the  Romans  arose  at  a  low  stage  of 

ethical  culture  or  designated  something  positively  base, 

there  were  stealthily  introduced  during  the  development 

X)f  the  neo-Latin  languages  the  idea  of  lack  of  seriousness 

/  about  social  relations,  the  idea  of  self-abandonment,  and 

L  the   idea   of  heartless   laxity.     In   order   to   bring   these 


things  into  esteem  among  us,  use  was  made  of  the  respect 
we  have  for  antiquity  and  foreign  countries  to  introduce 
the  same  words  into  the  German  language.     It  was  donex, 
so  quietly  that  no  one  was  fully  aware  of  what  was  actually  \" 
intended.     The  purpose  and  the  result  of  all  admixture 
has  ever  been  this :  first  of  all  to  remove  the  hearer  from 
the  immediate  comprehensibility  and  definiteness  which 
are  the  inherent  qualities  of  every  primitive  language  ; 
then,  when  he  has  been  prepared  to  accept  such  words 
in  blind  faith,  to  supply  him  with  the  explanation  that 
he  needs  ;    and,  finally,  in  this  explanation  to  mix  vice 
and  virtue  together  in  such  a  way  that  it  is  no  easy  matter 
to  separate  them  again.     Now,  if  the  true  meaning  of" 
those  three  foreignjwords,  provided  they  have  a  meaning, 
had  been  expressed  to  the  German  in  his  own  words 
and  within  his  own  circle  of  verbal  images,  in  this  way  : 
Menschenfreundlicbkeii  (friendliness   to   man),   Leutselig- 
keit  (condescension   or   affability),   and  Edelmut  (noble- 
mindedness),  he  would  have  understood  us  ;   but  the  base 
associations  we  have  mentioned  could  never  have  been 
slipped   into   those   designations.     Within   the   range   of 
German    speech    such    a   wrapping-up    in   incomprehen 
sibility    and    darkness    arises    either    from    clumsiness    or 
evil  design  ;    it  is  to  be  avoided,  and  the  means  always 
ready  to  hand  is  to  translate  into  right  and  true  German. 
But  in  the  neo-Latin  languages  this  incomprehensibility  is 
of  their  very  nature  and  origin,  and  there  is  no  means  of 
avoiding  it,  for  they  do  not  possess  any  living  language  |j 
by  which  they  might  examine  the  dead  one  ;    indeed,  || 
when  one  looks  at  the  matter  closely,  they  are  entirely 
without  a  mother-tongue. 

54.  This  single  example  will  serve  to  demonstrate 
what  could  with  ease  be  followed  up  throughout  the  whole 
range  of  the  language  and  found  present  everywhere. 


It   is   intended   to   explain  to  you   as   clearly  as   is  here 
possible  what   has    so   far   been  said.     We   are  speaking 
of   the   supersensuous   part    of    the    language,    and    not 
immediately  or  directly  of  the  sensuous  part.     This  super- 
sensuous  part,  in  a  language  that   has  always   remained 
•  alive,  is  expressed  by  symbols  of  sense,  comprehending 
lat  every  step  in  complete  unity  the  sum  total  of  the 
teensuous  and  mental  life  of  the  nation  deposited  in  the 
language,  for  the  purpose  of  designating  an  idea  that  like 
wise  is  not  arbitrary,  but  necessarily  proceeds  from  the 
jwhole  previous  life  of  the  nation.     From  the  idea  and 
its  designation  a  keen  eye,  looking  back,  couTcThot  fail 
to  reconstruct  the  whole  history  of  the  nation's  culture. 
But  in  a  dead  language  this  supersensuous  part,  which, 
while   the   language  was   still   alive,   was  what   we  have 
described,  becomes  with  the   death   of   the   language   a 
tattered  collection  of  arbitrary  and   totally  inexplicable 
symbols  for  ideas  that  are  just  as  arbitrary  ;    and  with 
both  idea  and  symbol  there  is  nothing  else  to  be  done 
but  just  to  learn  them. 

55.  With  this  our  immediate  task  is  performed,  which 
was    to    find    the    characteristic    that    differentiates    the 
German  from  the   other   peoples    of   Teutonic    descent. 
The  difference  arose  at    the   moment    of   the  separation 
of    the   common   stock   and   consists    in   this,    that    the 
^German   speaks    a  language  which   has   been   alive   ever 
since  it  first  issued  from  the   force  of   nature,  whereas 
the   other  Teutonic   races   speak   a  language  which  has 
movement  on  the  surface  only  but  is  dead  at  the  root. 
To  this  circumstance  alone,  to  life  on  the  one  hand  and 
_death  on  the  other,  we    assign   the  difference ;    but  we 
~are  not  in  any  way  taking  up  the  further  question  of 
the  intrinsic  value  of   the  German  language.     Between 
I  life  and  death  there  is  no  comparison  ;    the  foimer  has 


infinitely  more  value  than  the  latter.  All  direct 
parisons  between  German  and  neo-Latin  languages  are 
therefore  null  and  void,  and  are  obliged  to  discuss  things 
which  are  not  worth  discussing.  If  the  intrinsic  value  of 
the  German  language  is  to  be  discussed,  at  the  very  least 
a  language  of  equal  rank,  a  language  equally  primitive, 
as,  for  example,  Greek,  must  enter  the  lists  ;  but  such  a 
comparison  is  far  beyond  our  present  purpose. 

56.  What  an  immeasurable  influence  on  the  whole  _ 
human  development  of  a  people  the  character  of  its  lan 
guage  may  have  —  its  language,  which  accompanies  the  in 
dividual  into  the  most  secret  depths  of  his  mind  in  thought 
and  will  and  either  hinders  him  or  gives  him  wings,  which] 
unites  within  its  domain  the  whole  mass  of  men  who  speak 
it  into  one  single  and  common  understanding,  which  is 
the  true  point  of  meeting  and  mingling  for  the  world 
of  the  senses  and  the  world  of  spirits,  and  fuses  the  ends 
of  both  in  each  other  in  such  a  fashion  that  it  is  impossible 
to  tell  to  which  of  the  two  it  belongs  itself  —  how  different 
the  results  of  this  influence  may  prove  to  be  where  the 
relation  is  as  life  to  death,*  all  this  in  general  is  easily 
perceived.  In  the  first  place,  the  German  has  a  means 
of  investigating  his  living  language  more  thoroughly  , 
by  comparing  it  with  the  closed  Latin  language,  which 
differs  very  widely  from  his  own  in  the  development  of 
verbal  images  ;  on  the  other  hand,  he  has  a  means  of 
understanding  Latin  more  clearly  in  the  same  way.  This 
is  not  possible  to  a  member  of  the  neo-Latin  peoples, 
who  fundamentally  remains  a  captive  in  the  sphere  of 
one  and  the  same  language.  Then  the  German,  in  learn 
ing  the  original  Latin,  at  the  same  time  acquires  to  a 
certain  extent  the  derived  languages  also  ;  and  if  he  should 
learn  the  former  more  thoroughly  than  a  foreigner  does, 
which  for  the  reason  given  the  German  will  very  likely 


be  able  to  do,  he  at  the  same  time  learns  to  understand 
this  foreigner's   own  language  far  more  thoroughly  and 
to  possess  it  far  more  intimately  than  does  the  foreigner 
TTiimself  who  speaks  it.     Hence  the  German,  if  only  he 
j  makes  use  of  all  his  advantages,  can  always  be^uperior 
^  to  the  foreigner  and  understand  him  fully,  even  better 
than  the  foreigner  understands  himself,  and  can  translate 
the  foreigner  to  the  iullest  extent.     On  the  other  hand, 
the   foreigner   can   never   understand   the   true   German 
without  a  thorough    and    extremely  laborious  study    of 
the  German  language,  and  there  is  no  doubt  that  he  will 
leave  what  is  genuinely  German  untranslated.     The  things 
in  these  languages  which  can  only  be  learnt  from  the 
foreigner    himself    are    mostly    new    fashions    of    speech 
due  to  boredom  and  caprice,  and  one  is  very  modest  when 
one  consents  to  receive  instruction  of  this  kind.     In  most 
cases  one  would  be  able,  instead,  to  show  foreigners  how 
they  ought  to  speak  according  to  the  primitive  language 
and  its  law  of  change,  and  that  the  new  fashion  is  worth- 
ess  and  offends  against  ancient  and  traditional  good  usage. 
57.  In  addition  to  the  special  consequence  just  men 
tioned,  the  whole  wealth  of  consequences  we  spoke  of 
comes  about  of  itself. 

It  is,  however,  our  intention  to  treat  these  consequences 
as  a  whole,  fundamentally  and  comprehensively,  from 
the  point  of  view  of  the  bond  that  unites  them,  in  order 
to  give  in  this  way  a  thorough  description  of  the  German 
in  contrast  to  the  other  Teutonic  races.  For  the  present 
I  briefly  indicate  these  consequences  thus  :— 

(1)  Where  the  people  has  a  living  language,  mental 
t  culture  influences  life  ;    where  the  contrary  is  the  case, 
'  mental  culture  and  life  go  their  way  independently  of 
,  each  other. 

(2)  For  the  same  reason,  a  people  of  the  former  kind 


is  really  and  truly  in  earnest  about  all  mental  culture 
and  wishes  it  to  influence  life  ;  whereas  a  people  of  the 
latter  kind  looks  upon  mental  culture  rather  as  an  ingeni 
ous  game  and  has  no  wish  to  make  it  anything  more. 

(3)  From  No.  2  it  follows  that  the  former  has  honest 
diligence  and  earnestness  in  all  things,  and  takes  pains ; 
whereas  the  latter  is  easy-going  and  guided  by  its  happy 

(4)  From  all  this  together  it  follows  that  in  a  nation 
of  the  former  kind  the  mass  of  the  people  is  capable  of 
education,  and  the  educators  of  such  a  nation  test  their 
discoveries    on    the    people    and    wish    to    influence    it ; 
whereas  in  a  nation  of  the  latter  kind  the  educated  classes 
separate    themselves    from  the  people   and  regard   it   as 
nothing  more  than   a   blind  instrument   of  their  plans/ 
The  further  discussion  of  the  characteristics  indicated  I 
reserve  for  the  next  address. 



58.  WITH  the  object  of  describing  the  characteristic 
quality  of  the  Germans  we  have  pointed  out  the  funda 
mental  difference  between  them  and  the  other  peoples 
of  Teutonic  descent,  viz.,  that  the  former  have  remained 
in  the  uninterrupted  flow  of  a  primitive  language  which 
develops  itself  continuously  out  of  real  life,  whereas  the 
latter  adopted  a  language  which  was  foreign  to  them  and 
which  under  their  influence  has  been  killed.  At  the  end 
of  the  previous  address  we  indicated  other  manifestations 
among  these  peoples,  who  differ  from  each  other  in  the 
way  we  have  shown.  To-day  we  shall  deal  more  fully 
with  these  manifestations,  which  are  a  necessary  conse 
quence  of  that  fundamental  difference,  and  establish  them 
more  firmly  on  their  common  foundation. 

An  investigation  which  endeavours  to  be  thorough  can 
rise  too  high  to  be  involved  in  many  disputes  or  to  arouse 
much  jealousy.  Our  method  of  investigation  in  the 
present  instance  will  be  the  same  as  it  was  in  the  one  to 
which  this  is  a  sequel.  We  shall  take  the  fundamental 
difference  that  has  been  indicated,  and  deduce  its  con 
sequences  step  by  step  ;  our  sole  concern  will  be  to  see 
that  this  deduction  is  correct.  Whether  the  various 
manifestations  which,  according  to  this  deduction,  ought 



to  exist,  are  actually  met  with  in  experience  is  a  question 
which  I  shall  leave  entirely  to  you  and  to  any  observer  fore  I 
decision.     As    regards    the    German    especially,    I    shali- 
indeed  prove  at  the  proper  time  that  he  has  in  fact  revealehe 
himself  to  be  what  our  deduction  shows  he  was  bouity, 
to   be.     But,  as   regards   Teutons   in  other  countries, are 
shall  have  no  objection  if  one  of  them,  with  a  real  undoed 
standing  of  the  true  nature  of  our  present  discussio,  is 
is  subsequently  successful  in  proving  that  his  compatrioth 
have  been  just  what  the  Germans  have  been,  and  is  ablchj 
to  show  that  they  are  entirely  free  from  the  opposite  <V 
characteristics.     In    general,    our    description    even    Jr* 
these  opposite  characteristics  will  not  dwell  on  what  is 
harsh   and   disadvantageous,    for   such   a   method   makes 
victory    more    easy    than    honourable,    but    will    merely 
point  out  what  are  the  inevitable  consequences,  and  will 
do  this  with  as  much  consideration  as  is  consistent  with 
the  truth. 

59.  The  first  consequence  of  that  fundamental  differ 
ence,  I  said,  was  this  :  among  the  people  with  a  living 
language  mental  culture  influences  life,  whereas  among  a 
people  of  the  opposite  kind  mental  culture  and  life  go 
their  separate  ways.  It  will  be  useful  first  of  all  to  explain 
more  fully  the  meaning  of  this  statement.  First  of  all, 
when  we  speak  here  of  life  and  of  the  influence  exerted 
upon  it  by  mental  culture,  we  must  be  understood  to  mean 
primitive  life  in  its  flow  from  the  source  of  all  spiritual 
life,  from  God,  the  development  of  human  relationships 
according  to  their  archetype,  and,  therefore,  the  creation 
of  a  new  life  such  as  has  never  hitherto  existed.  We  are 
by  no  means  discussing  the  mere  preservation  from  decay 
of  those  relationships  in  their  present  stage.  StLl  less 
have  we  in  mind  the  assistance  of  individual  members 
who  have  fallen  behind  in  the  general  development. 



Next,  when  we  speak  of  mental  culture  we  are  to  under- 
'tand  thereby,  first  of  all,  philosophy,  for  it  is  philosophy 
rhich  scientifically  comprehends  the  eternal  archetype 
'.  all  spiritual  life.     We  must  designate  it  by  the  foreign 
me,  as  the  Germans  have  shown  themselves  unwilling 
adopt  the  German  name  l  that  was  recently  suggested, 
r  this  science,  and  for  all  science  based  upon  it,  the  claim 
low  made  that  it  influences  the  life  of  a  people  who  have 
living   language.     But,    in    apparent    contrast    to   this 
ssertion,  it  has  often  been  said,  and  by  some  among 
mrselves,   that   philosophy,   science,   the   fine   arts,   etc., 
^c  ends  in  themselves  and  not  handmaids  of  life,  and  that 
it  is  degrading  them  to  esteem  them  according  to  their 
utility  in  the  service  of  life.     Here  we  must  define  these 
expressions  more  closely  and  guard  against  any  misinter 
pretation.     They  are  true  in  the  following  double  but 
limited  sense  ;    first,  that  it  is  not  the  duty  of  science  or 
art,  as  some  have  thought,  to  be  useful  at  what  may  be 
called  a  lower  stage  of  life,  e.g.,  temporal  or  sensuous  life, 
or  for  everyday  edification  ;    then,  that   an  individual, 
in  consequence  of  his  personal  seclusion  from  a  spiritual 
world  regarded  as  a  whole,  may  be  entirely  absorbed  in 
these  special  branches  of  the  universal  divine  life  without 
needing  a  stimulus  from  outside  them,  and  may  find  in 
them  complete  satisfaction.     But   they   are   in   no  wise 
true  in  the  strict  sense,  for  it  is  just  as  impossible  that 
there  should  be  more  than  one  end  in  itself  as  that  there 
should  be  more  than  one  Absolute.     Thejsole  end  in 
itself,  apart  from  which  there  can  be  no  other,  is  spiritual 
life.     Now  this  expresses  itself  in  part  and  appears  as  an 
eternal  stream,  with  itself  as  source — that  is,  as  eternal 
activity.     This    activity  .  eternally    receives    its    pattern 
from  science,  and  its  ability  to  form  itself  according  to 
1  [Wissenschaftslehre,  i.e.  Theory  of  science.] 


this  pattern  from  art,  and  in  so  far  it  might  appear  that } 
science  and  art  exist  as  means  to  an  end,  which  is  active  ) 
life.  But  in"this  form  of  activity life  itself  is  never  com 
pleted  and  made  absolute  as  a  unity,  but  goes  on  into  the 
infinite.  Now,  if  life  is  to  exist  as  such  an  absolute  unity, 
it  must  be  in  another  form.  This  form  is  that  of  pure 
thought,  which  produces  the  religious  insight  described 
in  the  third  address,  a  form  which,  as  absolute  unity,  is 
utterly  incompatible  with  infinity  of  action  and  which 
can  never  be  completely  expressed  in  action.  Hence  both 
of  them,  thought  as  well  as  activity,  are  forms  incompat-  V 
ible  only  in  the  world  of  appearance,  but  in  the  work 
beyond  appearance  they  are  both  equally  one  and  the 
same  absolute  life.  One  cannot  say  that  thought  exists 
and  exists  as  it  does,  for  the  sake  of  activity,  or  vice  versa  ; 
one  must  say  that  both  must  simply  exist,  since  life  must 
be  a  completed  whole  in  the  phenomenal  world,  just  as 
it  is  in  the  /noumenal.  Within  this  sphere,  therefore, 
and  according  to  this  view,  it  is  not  nearly  enough  to  say 
that  science  exerts  an  influence  on  life  ;  science  itself 
is  life  perpetual  in  itself.  Or,  to  connect  this  with  a 
well-known  expression,  one  sometimes  hears  the  question 
put  :  What  is  the  use  of  all  knowledge,  if  one  does  not 
act  in  accordance  with  it  ?  This  remark  implies  that 
knowledge  is  regarded  as  a  means  to  action,  and  the 
latter  as  the  real  end.  One  could  put  the  question 
the  other  way  round  and  ask  :  How  can  we  possibly 
act  well  without  knowing  what  the  Good  is  ?  This 
way  of  expressing  it  would  regard  knowledge  as  con 
ditioning  action.  But  both  expressions  are  one-sided, 
and  the  truth  is  that  both,  knowledge  as  well  as  ' 
action,  are  in  the  same  way  inseparable  elements  of  I 
rational  life. 

60.  But  science  is  life  perpetual  in  itself,  as  we  have 


just  expressed  it,  only  when  thought  is  the  real  mind  and 
disposition  of  the  one  who  thinks,  in  such  a  way  that, 
without  special  effort  and  even  without  being  clearly 
conscious  of  it,  he  views  and  judges  everything  else  that 
he  thinks,  views,  and  judges  according  to  that  fundamental 
thought,  and,  if  the  latter  exerts  an  influence  on  action, 
just  as  inevitably  acts  according  to  it.  But  thought  is 
in  no  wise  life  and  disposition  when  it  is  thought  only  as 
the  thought  of  a  life  that  is  strange  or  foreign,  however 
clearly  and  completely  it  may  be  comprehended  as  a 
thought  that  has  a  mere  possibility  of  existence  in  this 
way,  and  however  clearly  one  might  think,  as  perhaps 
bomeone  could  think,  in  this  fashion.  In  this  latter  case, 
between  our  thinking  at  second-hand  and  our  real  think 
ing  there  lies  a  wide  field  of  chance  and  freedom — a 
freedom  that  we  feel  no  desire  to  use  ;  and  so  this  think 
ing  at  second-hand  remains  apart  from  us ;  it  is  a  merely 
possible  thinking,  one  made  free  from  us  and  always  freely 
to  be  repeated.  In  the  former  case  thought  has  by  itself 
directly  taken  hold  of  our  self,  and  made  it  into  itself ; 
and  through  this  reality  of  thought  for  us,  arising  in  this 
way,  we  obtain  insight  into  its  necessity.  As  we  have  just 
said,  no  freedom  can  forcibly  bring  about  the  latter  con 
sequence,  which  must  be  produced  of  itself,  and  thought 
itself  must  take  hold  of  us  and  form  us  according  to  itself. 
61.  Now  this  living  effectiveness  of  thought  is  very 
much  furthered  and,  indeed,  where  the  thinking  is  of  the 
proper  depth  and  strength,  even  made  inevitable,  by  think 
ing  and  designating  in  a  living  language.  The  symbol 
in  such  a  language  is  itself  directly  living  and  sensuous  ; 
it  re-presents  all  real  life  and  so  takes  hold  of  and  exerts 
an  influence  on  life.  To  the  possessor  of  such  a  language 
spirit  speaks  directly  and  reveals  itself  as  man  does  to  man. 
But  the  symbol  of  a  dead  language  does  not  stimulate 


anything  directly  ;  in  order  to  enter  the  living  stream  of 
such  a  language  one  must  first  recapitulate  knowledge 
acquired  by  the  study  of  history  from  a  world  that  has 
died,  and  transport  one's  self  into  an  alien  mode  of 
thought.  How  superabundant  must  be  the  impulse  of 
one's  own  thinking,  if  it  does  not  grow  weary  in  this  long,< 
and  wide  field  of  history  and  in  the  end  modestly  content 
itself  with  the  region  of  history.  If  the  thinking  of  the 
possessor  of  a  living  language  does  not  become  alive,  he 
may  rightly  be  accused  of  not  having  thought  at  all  and 
of  having  merely  indulged  in  reverie.  The  possessor  of 
a  dead  language,  however,  cannot  in  a  similar  case  be 
similarly  accused  without  hesitation  ;  it  may  be  that 
he  has  "  thought  "  after  his  own  fashion,  i.e.,  carefully 
developed  the  conceptions  deposited  in  his  language. 
Only  he  has  not  done  that  which,  if  he  succeeded  in 
doing  it,  would  be  accounted  a  miracle. 

Incidentally  it  is  evident  that  the  impulse  to  thinking, 
in  the  case  of  a  people  with  a  dead  language,  will  be  most 
powerful  and  produce  the  greatest  apparent  results  in 
the  beginning,  when  the  language  has  not  yet  become 
clear  enough  to  everyone.  It  is  also  evident  that,  as 
soon  as  the  language  becomes  clearer  and  more  definite, 
this  impulse  to  thinking  will  tend  more  and  more  to  die 
away  in  the  chains  of  the  language.  It  is  further  evident 
that  in  the  end  the  philosophy  of  a  people  of  this  kind 
will  consciously  resign  itself  to  the  fact  that  it  is  only  an 
explanation  of  the  dictionary,  or,  as  un-German  spirits/ 
among  us  have  expressed  it  in  a  more  high-sounding  ( 
fashion,  a  jnetacritic  of  language  ;  and,  finally,  that  such 
a  people  will  acknowledge  some  mediocre  didactic  poem 
in  comedy  form  on  the  subject  of  hypocrisy  to  be  its 
greatest  philosophical  work.1 

1  [Fichte  seems  to  refer  here  to  Moliere's  T artujfe .~\ 


62.  In   this   way,    I    say,    spiritual   culture — and   here 
especially  thinking  in  a  primitive  language  is  meant— 
does  not  exert  an  influence  on  life  ;    it  is  itself  the  life 
of    him    who    thinks    in    this    fashion.     Nevertheless    it 
necessarily  strives,  from  the  life  that  thinks  in  this  way, 
to  influence  other  life  outside  it,  and  so  to  influence  the 
life  of  all  about  it  and  to  form  this  life  in  accordance  with 

.itself.  For,  just  because  that  kind  of  thinking  is  life,  it 
lis  felt  by  its  possessor  with  inward  pleasure  in  its  vitalizing, 
(transfiguring,  and  liberating  power.  But  everyone  to 
whose  inmost  being  happiness  has  been  revealed  is  bound 
to  wish  that  everyone  else  may  experience  the  same  bliss ; 
he  is  thus  driven,  and  must  work,  to  the  end  that  the 
stream  from  4which  he  has  drawn  his  own  well-being  may 
spread  itself  over  others  too.  It  is  different  with  him  who 
has  merely  apprehended  the  possibility  of  second-hand 
thinking.  Just  as  its  substance  yields  him  neither  weal  nor 
woe,  but  merely  occupies  his  leisure  agreeably  and  enter 
tainingly,  so  it  is  impossible  for  him  to  believe  that  it  can 
bring  weal  or  woe  to  anyone  else.  In  the  end  it  is  to 
him  a  matter  of  indifference  on  what  subject  anyone 
exercises  his  ingenuity  or  with  what  he  occupies  his 
hours  of  leisure. 

63.  Of  the  means  of  introducing  into  the  lives  of  all 
the  thought  that  has  begun  in  the  life  of  the  individual, 
the  highest  and  best  is  £oe£ry  ;   hence  this  is  the  second 
main  branch  of  the  spiritual  culture  of  a  people.     The 
thinker  designates  his  thought  in  language,  and  this,  as 
we  have  said  above,  cannot  be  done  except  by  images 
of  sense  and,  moreover,  by  an  act  of  creation  extending 
beyond    the    previous   range    of    sensuous    imagery.     In 
doing  this  the  thinker  is  himself  a  poet  ;    if  he  is  not  a 
poet,  language  will  fail  him  when  his  first  thought  comes, 
and,  when  he  attempts  the  second,  thought  itself  will 


depart  from  him.  An  extension  and  amplification  of 
the  language's  range  of  sensuous  imagery  having  thus 
been  begun  by  the  thinker,  to  send  it  in  flood  through 
the  whole  field  of  sensuous  images,  so  that  every  image 
may  receive  its  appropriate  share  of  the  new  spiritual 
ennoblement  and  so  that  the  whole  of  life,  down  to  its 
deepest  depths  of  sense,  may  appear  steeped  in  the  new 
ray  of  light,  may  be  well-pleasing,  and  may  unwittingly 
give  the  illusion  of  ennobling  itself — to  do  this  is  the 
work  of  true  poetry.  Only  a  living  language  can  have 
such  poetry,  for  only  in  such  a  language  can  the  range  of 
sensuous  imagery  be  extended  by  creative  thought,  and 
only  in  it  does  what  has  already  been  created  remain 
alive  and  open  to  the  influence  of  kindred  life.  Such  a 
language  has  within  itself  the  power  of  infinite  poetry, 
ever  refreshing  and  renewing  its  youth,  for  every  stirring 
of  living  thought  in  it  opens  up  a  new  vein  of  poetic 
enthusiasm.  To  such  a  language,  therefore,  poetry  is 
the  highest  and  best  means  of  flooding  the  life  of  all  with 
the  spiritual  culture  that  has  been  attained.  It  is  quite 
impossible  for  a  dead  language  to  have  poetry  in  this 
higher  sense,  for  none  of  the  conditions  necessary  to 
poetry  exist  in  it.  Such  a  language  can  have,  how 
ever,  though  only  for  a  limited  period,  a  substitute 
for  poetry  in  the  following  way.  The_qutpourings  of 
the  art  of  poetry  in  the  original  language  will  attract 
attention.  The  new  people,  indeed,  cannot  go  on 
making  poetry  in  the  path  that  has  been  begun,  for  this 
is  foreign  to  its  life,  but  it  can  introduce  its  own  life  and 
its  new  circumstances  into  the  sphere  of  sensuous  imagery 
and  poetry  in  which  the  preceding  age  expressed  its  own 
life  ;  it  can,  for  example,  dress  up  its  knights  as  heroes, 
and  vice  versa,  and  make  the  ancient  gods  exchange 
raiment  with  the  new  ones.  It  is  precisely  this  placing 


of  unfamiliar  vesture  upon  the  commonplace  that  gives 
it  a  charm  akin  to  that  produced  by  idealization,  and  the 
result  will  be  quite  pleasing  figures.  But  the  range  of 
sensuous  and  poetical  imagery  in  the  original  language 
on  the  one  hand,  and  the  new  conditions  of  life  on  the 
other,  are  finite  and  limited  quantities.  At  some  point 
their  mutual  penetration  is  completed  ;  and  when  that 
point  is  reached  the  people  celebrates  its  golden  age  and 
the  source  of  its  poetry  runs  dry.  Somewhere  or  other 
there  must  be  a  highest  point  in  the  adaptation  of  fixed 
words  to  fixed  ideas,  and  of  fixed  imagery  to  fixed  con 
ditions  of  life.  When  this  point  has  been  reached  this 
people  must  do  one  of  two  things.  It  can  either  repeat 
its  most  successful  masterpieces  in  a  different  form,  so 
that  they  look  as  if  they  were  something  new,  although 
they  are  in  fact  nothing  but  the  old  familiar  things. 
Or  else,  if  it  is  determined  to  achieve  something  entirely 
new,  it  can  seek  refuge  in  the  unbecoming  and  the 
unseemly.  In  this  case  their  poetic  art  will  mix  together 
the  ugly  and  the  beautiful  and  have  recourse  to  carica 
ture  and  humour,  while  their  prose  will  be  compelled  to 
confuse  ideas  and  to  jumble  virtue  and  vice  together. 
This  they  must  do  if  they  seek  new  forms  of  expression. 

64.  When  mental  culture  and  life  thus  go  their  own 
separate  ways  in  a  nation,  the  natural  consequence  is 
that  those  classes  who  have  no  access  to  mental  culture, 
and  who  do  not  even  receive  the  results  of  it  as  they 
would  in  a  living  nation,  are  placed  at  a  disadvantage 
as  compared  with  the  educated  classes  and  are  regarded, 
so  to  speak,  as  a  different  species  of  humanity,  unequal 
to  them  in  mental  power  from  the  beginning  and  by 
the  mere  fact  of  birth.  Another  consequence  is  that 
the  educated  classes  have  no  truly  loving  sympathy  with 
them  and  are  not  impelled  to  give  them  thorough  aid, 


for  they  believe  that  their  original  inequality  makes 
them  quite  incapable  of  being  aided.  It  follows  also  that 
the  educated  classes  are  tempted  rather  to  make  use  of 
them  as  they  are  and  to  let  them  be  so  used.  Although 
even  this  consequence  of  the  death  of  the  language  can 
be  mitigated  in  the  first  years  of  the  new  nation  by  a 
humanitarian  religion  and  by  the  lack  of  special  skill 
among  the  higher  classes,  yet,  as  time  goes  on,  this 
despising  of  the  people  will  become  more  and  more 
unconcealed  and  cruel.  That  is  why  the  educated 
classes  assume  superiority  and  give  themselves  airs ;  and 
there  is  in  addition  a  special  reason  closely  connected 
with  it  which,  as  it  has  had  a  very  extensive  influence 
even  on  the  Germans,  must  be  mentioned  here.  It 
arises  from  the  fact  that  in  the  beginning  the  Romans 
called  themselves  barbarians  and  their  own  language 
barbarous,  as  contrasted  with  the  Greeks.  In  this  they 
very  ingenuously  repeated  what  the  Greeks  had  said 
about  them.  Afterwards  the  Romans  handed  on  the 
description  they  had  taken  upon  themselves,  and  found 
among  the  Teutons  the  same  unquestioning  simplicity 
as  they  themselves  had  shown  towards  the  Greeks. 
The  Teutons  believed  that  the  only  possible  way  to  get 
rid  of  barbarism  was  to  become  Romans.  The  immi 
grants  to  what  was  formerly  Roman  soil  became  as  Roman 
as  they  possibly  could.  But  in  their  imagination  the 
term  "  barbarous  "  soon  acquired  the  secondary  meaning 
of  "  common,  plebeian,  and  loutish,"  and  in  this  way 
"  Roman,"  on  the  contrary,  became  synonymous  with 
"  distinguished."  This  way  of  looking  at  it  affected 
the  Teutonic  languages  in  general  and  in  particular  ; 
in  general,  since,  when  measures  were  taken  deliberately 
and  consciously  to  mould  the  language,  they  were  directed 

towards  throwing  out  the  Teutonic  roots  and  forming 



the  words  fromLatin  roots,  and  thus  creating  the  Romance 
language  as  the  language  of  the  court  and  of  the  educated 
classes.  But  the  particular  result  is  that,  whenever  two 
words  have  the  same  meaning,  the  one  from  a  Teutonic 
root  almost  without  exception  denotes  what  is  base  and 
ignoble,  and  the  one  from  the  Latin  root  what  is  nobler 
and  more  distinguished. 

65.  This  endemic  disease  of  the  whole  Teutonic  race, 
as  it  might  be  called,  attacks  the  German  in  the  mother- 
country  too,  if  he  is  not  armed  against  it  by  a  high 
earnestness.  Even  in  our  ears  it  is  easy  for  Latin  to  sound 
distinguished,  even  to  our  eyes  Roman  customs  appear 
nobler  and  everything  German  on  the  contrary  vulgar  ; 
and  as  we  were  not  so  fortunate  as  to  acquire  all  this 
at  first-hand,  we  take  much  pleasure  in  receiving  it  at 
second-hand  through  the  medium  of  the  neo-Latin 
nations.1  So  long  as  we  are  German  we  appear  to  our- 

1  [Fichte  adds  this  note  here :  In  our  opinion  the  decision  as  to  the 
greater  or  less  euphony  of  a  language  should  not  be  based  upon  the  direct 
impression,  which  depends  on  so  many  matters  of  chance.  Even  a  judg 
ment  of  this  kind  should  be  founded  on  definite  principles.  The  merit  of  a 
language  in  this  respect  should  undoubtedly  be,  first  of  all,  that  it  exhausts 
and  comprehensively  presents  the  possibilities  of  the  human  organs  of 
speech,  and,  secondly,  that  it  combines  the  separate  sounds  in  a  natural  and 
convenient  unity.  Hence  it  follows  that  nations  who  only  half  develop 
their  organs  of  speech,  and  that  in  a  one-sided  fashion,  who  avoid  certain 
soundsor  combinations  under  the  pretext  of  difficulty  or  cacophony,  and  who 
esteem  euphonious  only  what  they  are  accustomed  to  hear  and  can  them 
selves  pronounce — such  nations  have  no  say  in  an  investigation  of  this  kind. 

This  is  not  the  place  to  deliver  judgment  according  to  those  higher 
principles  on  the  German  language  in  this  respect.  Latin  itself,  the 
parent  language,  is  pronounced  by  each  neo-European  nation  in  its  own 
way,  and  it  would  not  be  easy  to  restore  its  true  pronunciation.  There 
remains,  therefore,  only  this  question,  whether  the  German  language 
when  compared  with  neo-Latin  languages  sounds  so  bad,  hard,  and  harsh 
as  some  are  inclined  to  think. 

Until  this  question  is  thoroughly  decided,  we  may  meanwhile  at  least 
explain  how  it  happens  that  it  does  seem  so  to  foreigners,  and  to  Germans 
too,  even  when  they  are  unprejudiced  and  free  from  preferences  or  hate. 


selves  men  like  any  others ;  when  half  or  more  than  half 
our  vocabulary  is  non-German,  and  when  we  adopt 
conspicuous  customs  and  wear  conspicuous  clothes  which 
seem  to  come  from  foreign  parts,  then  we  fancy  ourselves 
distinguished.  But  the  summit  of  our  triumph  is  reached 
when  we  are  no  longer  taken  for  Germans,  but  actually  for 
Spaniards  or  Englishmen,  whichever  of  the  two  happens  to 
be  the  more  fashionable  at  the  moment.  We  are  right. 
Naturalness  on  the  German  side,  arbitrariness  and 
artificiality  on  the  foreign  side,  are  the  fundamental 
differences.  If  we  keep  to  the  former  we  are  just  like  all 
our  fellow-Germans,  who  understand  us  and  accept 
us  as  their  equals ;  only  when  we  seek  refuge  in  the 
latter  do  we  become  incomprehensible  to  our  fellows, 
who  take  us  to  be  of  a  different  nature.  This  unnatural- 
ness  comes  of  itself  into  the  life  of  foreign  countries, 

because  their  life,  deviated    from   nature originally ....and  \ 

in  a  matter  _of__the_first  importance.  But  we  Germans  ' 
must  first  seek  it  out  and  accustom  ourselves  to  the  belief 
that  -something  is  beautiful,  proper,  and  convenient, 
which  does  not  naturally  appear  so  to  us.  The  main 
reason  for  all  this  in  the  case  of  the  German  is  his  belief 
in  the  greater  distinction  of  romanized  countries,  together 
with  his  craving  to  be  just  as  distinguished  and  arti 
ficially  to  create  in  Germany  too  that  gulf  between  the 

A  people  as  yet  uncultivated,  with  a  very  lively  power  of  imagination,  and  at 
the  same  time  childlike  in  mind  and  free  from  national  vanity  (the  Teutons 
seem  to  have  had  all  these  qualities)  is  attracted  by  what  is  far  away,  and 
likes  to  make  remote  countries  and  distant  islands  the  habitation  for  the 
objects  of  its  desires  and  the  glories  of  which  it  dreams.  Such  a  people 
develops  a  sense  of  romance  (the  word  explains  itself  and  no  more  suitable 
one  could  be  invented).  Sounds  and  tones  from  those  regions  touch  this 
sense  and  awaken  its  whole  world  of  wonders ;  hence  they  are  pleasing. 

This  may  be  the  reason  why  our  countrymen  who  emigrated  gave  up  their 
own  language  for  a  foreign  one  so  easily,  and  also  why  we,  their  kindred 
so  very  far  removed,  find  even  now  such  wondrous  pleasure  in  these  tones.] 


r  upper  classes  and  the  people,  which  came  about  naturally 
/  in  foreign  countries.  I  shall  content  myself  with  having 
indicated  the  main  source  of  this  love  of  foreign  ways 
which  is  to  be  found  among  Germans  ;  on  another  occa 
sion  I  shall  show  how  widespread  its  effects  have  been, 
and  how  all  the  evils  which  have  now  brought  us  to  ruin 
are  of  foreign  origin.  Of  course  it  was  only  when  united 
with  German  earnestness  and  influence  on  life  that  such 
evils  were  bound  to  bring  destruction  in  their  train. 

66.  In  addition  to  these  two  manifestations  resulting 
*  from  the  fundamental  difference — firstly,  that  mental 
/  culture  either  does  or  does  not  influence  life,  and,  secondly, 
that  between  the  educated  classes  and  the  people  a  dividing 
wall  either  does  or  does  not  exist — I  cited  the  following 
manifestation,  that  the  people  with  a  living  language 
"  will  possess  diligence  and  earnestness  and  take  pains  in 
all  things,  whereas  the  people  with  a  dead  language  will 
rather  look  upon  mental  activity  as  an  ingenious  game, 
and  will  be  easy-going  and  guided  by  its  happy  nature. 
This  circumstance  is  a  natural  result  of  what  has  been 
said  above.  Among  the  people  with  a  living  language 
investigation  proceeds  from  a  vital  need,  which  is  thereby 
to  be  satisfied  ;  hence,  investigation  receives  all  the  com 
pelling  impulses  which  life  has  in  itself.  But  among  the 
people  with  a  dead  language  investigation  seeks  nothing 
more  than  to  pass  away  the  time  in  a  manner  that  is 
pleasant  and  in  keeping  with  the  sense  of  the  beautiful, 
and  it  has  attained  its  object  completely  when  it  has  done 
this.  With  foreigners  the  latter  course  is  almost  inevitable, 
but  when  a  German  boasts  about  his  genius  and  his  happy 
nature  he  displays  a  love  of  foreign  ways  which  is  unworthy 
of  him  and  which,  like  every  imitation  of  foreign  ways, 
'  arise^-frsm_j:he  craving- te-~ be- distinguished.  It  is  true 
that  nothing  excellent  will  be  produced  in  any  nation 


in  the  world  without  a  primitive  impulse  in  man  which, 
as  something  supersensuous,  is  rightly  called  Genius,  to 
give  it  the  foreign  name.  But  this  impulse  in  itself  only 
stimulates  the  power  of  imagination,  and  brings  forth  in 
it  figures  that  hover  above  the  ground  but  are  never 
completely  defined.  To  bring  these  down  completed 
to  the  ground  of  actual  life  and  to  fix  them  firmly  thereinJ 
this  requires  thought,  diligent,  deliberate,  and  in  accord-/ 
ance  with  a  definite  principle.  Genius  delivers  tG 
diligence  the  stuff  to  be  worked  upon,  and  the  latter  with 
out  the  former  would  have  to  work  upon  either  what  had 
been  worked  upon  already  or  else  upon  nothing  at  all. 
But  diligence  brings  this  stuff,  which  without  it  would 
remain  an  empty  game,  into  life  ;  and  so  it  is  only  when 
united  that  the  two  can  achieve  anything ;  divided  they  can 
do  nothing.  Moreover,  in  a  people  with  a  dead  language 
no  truly  creative  genius  can  express  itself,  because  they 
lack  the  primitive  power  of  designation  ;  they  can  only 
develop  what  has  already  been  begun  and  convey  it  into 
the  whole  existing  and  completed  system  of  designation. 

67.  When  we  consider  the  question  of  taking  greater  j 
pains,  it  is  natural  that  this  can  be  done  by  the  people  I 
with  the  living  language.     A  living  language  can  stand  1 
on  a  higher  level  of  culture  in  comparison  with  another, 
but  it  can  never  in  itself  attain  that  perfection  of  develop 
ment   which   a   dead   language   quite   easily   attains.     In 
the   latter  the   connotation   of  words  is  fixed,  and   the 
possibilities  of  suitable  combinations  will  also  gradually 
become  exhausted.     Hence,  he  who  wishes  to  speak  this 
language  must  speak  it  just  as  it  is ;   but,  after  he  has  once 
learnt  to  do  this,  the  language  speaks  itself  in  his  mouth 
and  thinks  and  imagines  for  him.     But  in  a  living  lan 
guage,  if _only  life  in  it  is  really  liv-ed^.  the  words  and  their 
meanings  increase  and  change  continually,  and  for  that 


very  reason  new  combinations  become  possible  ;  and  the 
language,  which  never  is,  but  eternally  is  becoming,  does 
not  speak  itself,  but  he  wrio  wisHes  to  Use  IF  must  speak 
it  himself  in  his  own  fashion  and  creatively  for  his  own 
needs.  The  latter  undoubtedly  demands  far  more 
^diligence  and  practice  than  the  former.  Similarly,  the 
investigations  of  a  people  with  a  living  language  go  down, 
as  we  have  already  said,  to  the  root  where  ideas  stream 
forth  from  spiritual  nature  itself  ;  whereas  the  investiga 
tions  of  a  people  with  a  dead  language  only  seek  to  pene 
trate  a  foreign  idea  and  to  make  themselves  comprehen 
sible.  Hence,  the  investigations  of  the  latter  are  in  fact 
only  historical  and  expository,  but  those  of  the  former 
are  truly  philosophical.  It  is  quite  plain,  too,  that 
an  investigation  of  the  latter  kind  may  be  completed 
sooner  and  more  easily  than  one  of  the  former. 

So  we  may  say  that  genius  in  foreign  lands  will  strew 
with  flowers  the  well-trodden  military  roads  of  antiquity, 
and  weave  a  becoming  robe  for  that  wisdom  of  life  which 
it  will  easily  take  for  philosophy.  The  German  spirit, 
on  the  other  hand,  will  open  up  new  shafts  and  bring 
the  light  of  day  into  their  abysses,  and  hurl  up  rocky 
masses  of  thoughts,  out  of  which  ages  to  come  will  build 
their  dwellings.  The  foreign  genius  will  be  a  delightful 
sylph,  which  hovers  in  graceful  flight  above  the  flowers 
that  have  sprung  of  themselves  from  its  soil,  settles  on 
them  without  causing  them  to  bend,  and  drinks  up  their 
refreshing  dew.  Or  we  may  call  it  a  bee,  which  with 
busy  art  gathers  the  honey  from  the  same  flowers  and 
deposits  it  with  charming  tidiness  in  cells  of  regular 
construction.  B4^-4h£^Gerrnan  spirit  is  an  eagle,  whose 
mighty  body  thrusts  itself  orT  high  anxTsoars  on  strong 
and  well-practised  wing  into  the  empyrean,  that  it  may 
rise  nearer  to  the  sun  whereon  it  delights  to  gaze. 


68.  Now  let  us  sum  up  in  one  main  point  of  view  all 
that  has  hitherto  been  said.  In  general,  when  we  con 
sider  the  history  of  civilization  in  a  race  of  men  which 
is  split  up  in  history  into  an  age  of  antiquity  and  a  new 
world,  we  shall  find  on  the  whole  that  the  function  of 
these  two  main  branches  in  the  original  development  of 
this  new  world  is  as  follows.  That  part  of  the  vigorous 
nation  which  has  gone  abroad  and  adopted  the  language 
of  antiquity  thereby  acquires  a  much  closer  relation 
ship  to  antiquity.  At  the  beginning  it  will  be  far  easier 
for  this  part  of  the  nation  to  grasp  the  language  of  anti 
quity  in  its  first  and  unchanged  form,  to  penetrate  the 
memorials  of  its  culture,  and  to  bring  into  them  enough 
fresh  life  to  enable  them  to  be  adapted  to  the  new  life 
that  has  arisen.  In  short,  it  is  from  them  that  the  study 
of  classical  antiquity  has  taken  its  way  over  modern 
Europe.  In  its  enthusiasm  for  the  unsolved  problems  of 
antiquity  it  will  continue  to  work  at  them,  but,  of  course, 
only  as  one  works  at  a  problem  that  has  been  set,  not  by 
the  needs  of  life,  but  by  mere  curiosity.  It  will  take  them 
lightly  and  not  whole-heartedly,  grasping  them  merely 
with  the  power  of  imagination,  and  solely  in  this  medium 
giving  them,  as  it  were,  an  airy  body.  The  very  wealth 
of  material  bequeathed  by  antiquity,  and  the  ease  with 
which  the  work  can  be  carried  on  in  this  fashion,  will 
enable  them  to  bring  an  abundance  of  such  images  into 
the  field  of  vision  of  the  modern  world.  Now,  when 
these  images  of  the  ancient  world  in  their  new  form 
reach  that  part  of  the  original  stock  which,  by  its  reten 
tion  of  the  language,  has  remained  in  the  stream  of  original 
culture,  they  will  arouse  the  attention  of  the  people  and 
stimulate  them  to  activity  on  their  own  part ;  though, 
perhaps,  these  images,  if  they  had  remained  in  the  old 
form,  would  have  passed  before  them  unheeded  and 


unperceived.  But  as  soon  as  they  have  really  grasped 
them  and  not,  as  it  were,  merely  passed  them  on  from 
hand  to  hand,  they  will  grasp  them  as  their  nature 
impels  them  to  do,  not  merely  as  knowledge  of  a  foreign 
life,  but  as  an  element  of  their  own  life.  So  they  will 
not  only  derive  them  from  the  life  of  the  new  world, 
but  also  bring  them  into  it  again,  incarnating  the  hitherto 
merely  airy  figures  in  solid  bodies  that  will  endure  in 
real  life. 

These  figures,  thus  transformed  in  a  way  that  would 
never  have  been  possible  to  foreign  countries,  the  latter 
now  receive  from  them  again.  Through  this  channel 
alone  is  a  development  of  the  human  race  possible  on  the 
path  of  antiquity,  a  union  of  the  two  main  portions,  and 
a  regular  progress  of  human  evolution.  In  this  new  order 
of  things  the  mother-country  will  not  actually  invent 
anything ;  but,  in  the  smallest  as  in  the  greatest  matters, 
it  will  always  have  to  acknowledge  that  it  has  been 
stimulated  by  some  hint  from  abroad.  The  foreign 
countries  themselves  were  in  their  turn  stimulated  by 
the  ancients,  but  the  mother-country  will  take  earnestly, 
and  bring  into  life,  what  other  countries  have  only  super 
ficially  and  hastily  sketched  out.  As  we  have  already 
said,  this  is  not  the  place  to  illustrate  this  relationship  by 
striking  and  far-reaching  examples.  This  we  reserve  for 
our  next  address. 

69.  In  this  way  both  parts  of  the  joint  nation  remained 
one,  and  only  in  this  simultaneous  separation  and  unity  do 
they  form  a  graft  on  the  stem  of  the  culture  of  antiquity, 
which  otherwise  would  have  been  broken  off  by  the  new 
age,  and  so  humanity  would  have  begun  again  from  the 
beginning.  The  two  parts  have  these  vocations  laid 
upon  them,  different  at  the  starting-point  but  coming 
together  at  the  goal ;  each  part  must  recognize  its  own 


vocation  and  that  of  the  other,  and  in  accordance  there 
with  each  part  must  make  use  of  the  other.  It  is  especi 
ally  necessary  for  each  part  to  consent  to  assist  the  other 
and  to  leave  its  characteristic  quality  untouched,  if  good 
progress  is  to  be  made  in  the  general  and  complete  culture 
of  the  whole.  The  recognition  of  this  ought  to  come 
first  from  the  mother-country,  which  has  been  endowed 
in  the  first  place  with  the  sense  of  profundity.  But  if 
ever  foreign  countries,  in  their  blindness  to  this  relation 
ship,  should  be  so  far  carried  away  by  what  appears  on 
the  surface  as  to  attempt  to  deprive  their  mother-country 
of  its  independence  and  so  to  destroy  and  absorb  it, 
they  would  thereby,  if  their  attempt  succeeded,  sever  for 
themselves  the  last  vein  connecting  them  with  nature 
and  with  life,  and  fall  defenceless  into  spiritual  death, 
which  indeed,  apart  from  this,  has  been  revealing  itself 
to  be  their  true  nature  more  and  more  clearly  as  time 
has  gone  on.  Then  the  hitherto  continuous  stream  of 
the  development  of  our  race  would  be  in  fact  at  an  end  ; 
barbarism  would  be  bound  to  begin  again  and  to  go  on 
without  hope  of  deliverance,  until  we  were  all  living  in 
caves  again  like  wild  beasts  and,  like  them,  devouring 
one  another.  That  this  is  really  so  and  must  inevitably 
follow,  only  the  German  can  see,  of  course,  and  only  he 
!  shall  see  it.  To  the  foreigner,  who,  since  he  knows  no 
;  foreign  culture,  has  unlimited  scope  to  admire  himself 
j  in  his  own,  it  must  and  it  may  always  appear  preposterous 
blasphemy  proceeding  from  ill-educated  ignorance. 

Non-German  countries  are  the  earth,  from  which 
fruitful  vapours  detach  themselves  and  arise  to  the  clouds, 
and  by  which  even  now  the  old  gods  condemned  to 
Tartarus  keep  in  touch  with  the  sphere  of  life.  Th<l 
mother-country  is  the  eternal  sky  enveloping  the  earth] 
the  sky  in  which  the  light  vapours  are  condensed  to  clouds 


which,  impregnated  by  the  lightning  flash  of  the  Thunderer 
from  the  other  world,  descend  in  the  form  of  fertilizing 
rain,  uniting  sky  and  earth  and  causing  the  gifts  whose 
home  is  in  the  sky  to  germinate  in  the  lap  of  earth. 
Do  new  Titans  once  more  want  to  take  heaven  by  storm  ? 
It  will  not  be  heaven  for  them,  for  they  are  earth-born, 
and  the  very  sight  and  influence  of  heaven  will  be  taken 
from  them.  Only  their  earth  will  remain  to  them,  a  cold, 
gloomy,  and  barren  habitation.  But,  says  a  Roman  poet, 
what  could  a  Typhceus  do,  or  the  mighty  Mimas,  or 
Porphyrion  with  his  threats,  or  Enceladus,  the  rash 
hurler  of  uprooted  tree-trunks,  if  they  flung  themselves 
against  the  resounding  shield  of  Pallas  ?  It  is  this  very 
shield  that  will  undoubtedly  cover  us  too,  if  we  under 
stand  how  to  betake  ourselves  to  its  protection. 



70.  IN  our  last  address  we  stated  what  would  be  the 
chief  differences  between  a  people  that  has  developed  in 
its  original  language  and  a  people  that  has  adopted,  a 
foreign  one.  We  said  at  the  time  that,  so  far  as  foreign 
countries  were  concerned,  we  would  leave  it  to  each 
observer's  own  judgment  to  decide  whether  those  mani 
festations  had  in  fact  occurred  which,  according  to  our 
assertions,  were  bound  to  occur.  But  with  regard  to  the 
Germans  we  undertook  to  prove  that  they  had  in  fact 
turned  out  to  be  what,  according  to  our  assertions,  a 
people  with  a  primitive  language  was  bound  to  be. 
To-day  we  proceed  to  the  fulfilment  of  our  promise ; 
and  we  prove  our  assertions,  first  of  all,  by  the  latest 
great  and,  in  a  certain  sense,  completed  achievement  of 
the  German  people,  an  achievement  of  world-wide 
importance— the  reformation  of  the  Church. 

71.  Christianity,  which  originated  in  Asia,  and  in  the 
days  of  its  corruption  became  more  Asiatic  than  ever, 
preaching  only  silent  resignation  and  blind  faith,  was 
something  strange  and  foreign  even  to  the  Romans. 
They  never  really  laid  hold  of  and  assimilated  it,  and 
their  nature  was  divided  by  it  into  two  halves  that  did 
not  fit  each  other ;  nevertheless,  the  foreign  part  was 
joined  on  by  means  of  their  inherited  and  melancholy 



superstition.  In  the  immigrant  Teutons  this  religion 
found  disciples  who  had  no  previous  intellectual  educa 
tion  to  hinder  its  acceptance,  but  also  no  hereditary 
superstition  favourable  to  it.  Hence,  it  was  presented  to 
them  as  one  of  the  things  that  formed  part  of  the  equip 
ment  of  a  Roman,  which  is  what  they  wanted  to  become  ; 
but  it  had  no  special  influence  on  their  life.  These 
Christian  educators  would  obviously  not  let  their  new 
converts  know  any  more  than  suited  their  purpose 
about  the  ancient  culture  of  Rome  or  its  language,  the 
key  to  its  culture  ;  and  here,  too,  we  have  a  reason  for  the 
decay  and  death  of  the  Latin  language  in  their  mouth. 
When  later  the  untouched  and  genuine  works  of  the  old 
culture  fell  into  the  hands  of  these  peoples,  and  when  the 
impulse  to  think  and  understand  for  themselves  was 
thereby  stirred  into  action,  then,  partly  because  this 
impulse  was  new  and  fresh  to  them,  and  partly  because 
they  had  no  inherited  terror  of  the  gods  to  act  as  a 
counterpoise,  the  contradiction  between  blind  faith  and 
the  strange  things  that  in  course  of  time  had  become  its 
objects  was  bound  to  strike  them  far  more  sharply  than  it 
had  struck  the  Romans  themselves  when  Christianity  first 
came  to  them.  The  perception  of  an  utter  contradic 
tion  in  what  one  has  hitherto  faithfully  believed  excites 
laughter.  ^Those  who  had  solved  the  riddle  laughed  and 
mocked  ;  and  even  the  priests,  who  had  also  solved  it, 
laughed  with  the  rest ;  they  could  do  so  in  safety,  because 
only  very  few  people  had  access  to  the  classical  culture 
which  broke  the  spell.  Here  I  refer  especially  to  Italy, 
the  chief  seat  of  neo-Latin  culture  at  that  time,  the  other 
neo-Latin  races  being  still  very  far  behind  Italy  in  every 

They  laughed  at  the  deception,  because  there  was  no 
earnestness    in    them    to    turn    bitter.     Their    exclusive 


possession  of  rare  knowledge  strengthened  them  in  their 
position  as  a  distinguished  and  educated  class,  and  so  they 
were  quite  willing  that  the  great  multitude,  for  whom 
they  had  no  feeling,  should  remain  under  the  sway  of  the 
deception  and  thus  be  more  subservient  to  their  purposes. 
This  state  of  things — a  people  deceived,  and  their  betters 
making  use  of  the  deception  and  laughing  at  them — might 
have  continued  ;  and  it  would  probably  have  continued 
until  the  end  of  time,  if  there  had  been  none  but  neo- 
Latins  in  the  modern  world. 

Here  you  have  a  clear  proof  of  what  I  said  about  the 
continuation  of  ancient  culture  by  the  new,  and  about 
the  share  the  neo-Latins  are  able  to  have  in  it.  The 
new  light  proceeded  from  the  ancients  and,  falling 
first  upon  the  central  point  of  neo-Latin  culture,  was 
there  developed  into  nothing  more  than  an  intellectual 
view  of  things,  without  taking  hold  of  life  and  shaping 
it  differently. 

72.  But  it  was  impossible  for  the  existing  state  of 
things  to  continue  once  this  light  had  fallen  upon  a  soul 
whose  religion  was  truly  earnest  and  concerned  about 
life,  when  this  soul  was  surrounded  by  a  people  to  whom 
it  could  easily  impart  its  more  earnest  view,  and  when  this 
people  found  leaders  who  cared  about  its  urgent  needs. 
However  low  Christianity  may  fall,  there  always  remains 
in  it  an  essential  part  which  contains  truth  and  which  is 
sure  to  stimulate  life,  if  only  it  is  real  and  independent 
life.  That  part  is  the  question  :  What  shall  we  do  to 
be  saved  ?  When  this  question  fell  on  barren  soil, 
where  either  it  remained  undecided  whether  such  a 
thing  as  salvation  was  really  possible,  or  else,  even  if  that 
was  assumed,  there  was  still  no  firm  and  decided  will  to 
be  saved — on  such  soil  religion  from  the  very  beginning 
did  not  affect  life  and  will,  but  remained  suspended  in 


the  memory  and  the  imagination  like  a  faint  and  quivering 
shadow.  So  all  further  enlightenment  concerning  the 
condition  of  the  existing  religious  ideas  was  similarly 
bound  to  remain  without  influence  on  life.  But  when, 
on  the  other  hand,  that  question  fell  upon  soil  that  by 
nature  was  living,  where  there  was  an  earnest  belief  that 
salvation  existed  and  a  firm  will  to  be  saved,  where  the 
means  of  salvation  prescribed  by  the  existing  religion 
h^d  been  employed  to  that  intent  with  inward  faith, 
honesty,  and  earnestness,  and  where,  moreover,  this 
very  earnestness  long  kept  from  the  light  the  quality  of 
the  prescribed  means  of  salvation — when,  I  say,  the  new 
light  fell  at  last  upon  such  a  soil  as  this,  the  inevitable 
result  was  horror  and  loathing  of  this  deception  in  the 
matter  of  the  soul's  salvation,  and  an  unrest  impelling 
them  to  secure  salvation  in  another  way.  What  appeared 
to  be  a  rushing  towards  eternal  ruin  could  not  be  treated 
as  if  it  were  a  joke.  Moreover,  the  individual  who  was 
first  possessed  by  this  view  of  the  matter  could  not  possibly 
be  content  with  saving  only  his  own  soul,  and  remain 
indifferent  to  the  welfare  of  all  other  immortal  souls ;  for, 
if  he  had,  he  would  thereby  have  saved  not  even  his 
own  soul.  Such  was  the  teaching  of  his  more  profound 
religion.  He  was  bound,  on  the  contrary,  to  wrestle  for 
all  mankind  with  the  same  anxiety  that  he  felt  for  his  > 
own  soul,  so  that  the  whole  world  might  have  its  eyes 
opened  to  the  damnable  delusion. 

73.  It  was  in  this  way  that  the  light  fell  upon  the  soul 
of  the  German  man,  Luther.  Long  before  him  very  many 
foreigners  had  seen  the  light  and  comprehended  it  more 
clearly  with  the  intellect.  In  refinement,  in  classical 
culture,  in  learning,  and  in  other  things  he  was  surpassed, 
not  only  by  foreigners,  but  even  by  many  of  his  own  nation. 
He,  however,  was  possessed  by  an  all-powerful  impulse. 


the  anxiety  about  eternal  salvation,  and  this  became  the 
life  of  his  life,  made  him  always  throw  his  life  into  the 
scale,  and  gave  him  the  power  and  the  gifts  which  are 
the  admiration  of  posterity.  Others  during  the  Reforma 
tion  may  have  had  earthly  aims,  but  they  would  never 
have  been  victorious  had  there  not  been  at  their  head  a 
leader  inspired  by  the  eternal.  That  this  man,  who 
;always  saw  that  the  salvation  of  all  immortal  souls  was  at 
stake,  fearlessly  and  in  all  earnestness  went  to  meet  all 
the  devils  in  hell,  is  natural  and  in  no  way  a  wonder. 
Here  we  have  a  proof  of  German  earnestness  of  soul.  \! 

It  was  in  the  nature  of  things,  as  we  "have  said,  that 
Luther  should  turn  to  all  men  with  this  question,  which 
concerns  all  men  and  which  each  man  must  deal  with  for 
himself.  First  of  all  he  turned  to  the  whole  of  his  own 
nation.  How,  then,  did  his  people  respond  to  this  pro 
posal  ?  Did  they  remain  in  their  dull  placidity,  chained  to 
the,,  ground  by  the  cares  of  the  world,  and  going  on  un- 
disfurbed  in  the  accustomed  path  ?  Or  did  this  mighty 
enthusiasm,  such  as  is  not  manifested  every  day,  merely 
excitip  them  to  laughter  ?  By  no  means  !  They  were 
seized  by  the  same  concern  for  the  salvation  of  their  souls  ; 
like  fire  it  spread  among  them  ;  and  so  their  eyes,  too, 
were  q.uickly  opened  to  the  fullness  of  light,  and  they  were 
quick  Vo  accept  what  was  offered  to  them.  Was  this 
enthusiasm  merely  a  momentary  elevation  of  the  imagina 
tion,  una  ble  to  hold  its  ground  in  daily  life  with  its  stern 
struggles  ajid  dangers  ?  By  no  means  !  They  renounced 
all,  endure<4  all  tortures,  and  fought  in  bloody  and  in 
decisive  wars^  solely  that  they  might  not  again  come  under 
the  power  of  *the  accursed  Papacy,  but  that  the  light  of 
the  gospel,  whurh  alone  can  save,  might  shine  upon  them 
and  upon  their  children's  children.  There  were  renewed 
among  them,  late  in  time,  all  the  miracles  that  Chris- 


tianity  showed  forth  among  those  who  professed  it  when 
it  began.  All  the  utterances  of  that  period  are  filled  with 
this  universal  concern  for  salvation.  Behold  in  this  a 

\~proof  of  the  characteristic  quality  of  the  German  jpeople. 
By  enthusiasm  it  can  easily  be  raised  to  enthusiasm  and 
clearness  of  any  kind  whatsoever,  and  its  enthusiasm 

^endures  for  life  and  transforms  life. 

74.  In  earlier  times  and  in  *ther  places  reformers  had 
inspired  masses  of  the  people,  and.  gathered  and  formed 
them  into  communities.     Yet  these  communities  found 
no  firm  abiding-place  on  the  foundation  of  the  existing 
constitution,  because  the  princes  and  rulers  of  the  people 
did  not  come  over  to  their  side.     At  first  no  more  favour 
able    destiny    seemed    to    await    Luther's    Reformation. 
The  wise  Elector,  under  whose  eyes  it  began,  seemed  to 
be  wise  rather  in  the  foreign  than  in  the  German  sense. 
He  did  not  appear  to  have  any  special  grasp  of  the  real 
question  at  issue,  nor  to  attach  much  importance  to  what 
seemed  to  him  a  quarrel  between  two  orders  of  monks  ; 
at  the  most  he  was  concerned  merely  about  the  good 
reputation    of   his    newly-founded    University.     But    he 
had  successors  who,  though  far  less  wise  than  he:,  were 
seized  by  the  same  earnest   care  for  their  salvation  as 
lived  in  their  peoples,  and  by  this  likeness  were-  fused 
with   them  into   one  body  for  life   or   death,   defeat   or 

Behold  in  this  an  illustration  of  the  above-mentioned 
characteristic  of  the  Germans  as  a  single  body,  and  of 
their  constitution  as  established  by  nature.  <  The  great 
events  of  national  or  world  importance  h'.ave  hitherto 
been  brought  before  the  people  by  speakers  who  came 
forward  voluntarily,  and  the  people  hane  taken  up  the 
cause.  Though  their  princes,  from  lo/ve  of  foreign  ways 
and  the  craving  for  brilliance  and  distinction,  might  at 


first  separate  themselves,  as  those  did,  from  the  nation 
and  abandon  or  betray  it,  they  were  afterwards  easily 
swept  into  unanimity  with  the  nation  and  took  pity  on 
their  peoples.  That  the  former  has  always  been  the  case 
we  shall  prove  more  clearly  hereafter  by  further  illustra 
tions  ;  that  the  latter  may  always  continue  to  be  the 
case  we  can  only  wish  with  fervent  yearning. 

75.  One  must  confess  that  there  was  a  darkness  and 
unclearness  in  the  anxiety  of  that  generation  about  the 
salvation  of  souls,  since  it  was  a  question,  not  merely  of 
changing  the  external  mediator  between  God  and  man, 
but  of  needing  no  external  mediator  at  all  and  of  finding 
the  bond  of  connection  in  one's  self.     Nevertheless,  it 
was   perhaps   necessary   that   the   religious   education   of 
mankind    should    go    through    this    intermediate    state. 
Luther's  own  honest  zeal  gave  him  more  than  he  sought, 
and  carried   him  far  beyond  his  own  dogmatic  system. 
Once  he  had  successfully  overcome  the  first  inward  con 
flicts,  produced  by  his  conscientious  scruples  when  he 
boldly  broke  away  from  the  whole  existing  faith,  all  his 
utterances  are  full  of  jubilation  and  triumph  about  the 
freedom  won   for   the   children   of  God,   who   assuredly 
no  longer   sought   for  salvation  outside  themselves   and 
beyond  the  grave,  but  were  themselves  a  manifestation 
of  the  immediate  feeling  of  salvation.     In  this  he  became 
the  pattern  for  all  generations  to  come,  and  died  for  us  all. 
Behold  in  this  also  a  characteristic  of  the  German  spirit. 
If  it  but  seeks,  it  finds  more  than  it  sought,  for  it  comes 
into  the  stream  of  living  life,  which  flows  on  of  itself  and 
carries  the  seeker  on  with  it. 

76.  To  the  Papacy,  when  taken  and  judged  according 
to  its  own  view  of  the  matter,  wrong  was  undoubtedly 
done  by  the  way  in  which  it  was  taken  by  the  Reformation. 
Its  utterances  were  for  the  most  part  picked  at  random 



from  the  existing  language  ;  they  exaggerated  in  Asiatic 
and  rhetorical  fashion  and  were  intended  to  have  what 
ever  validity  they  could  ;  they  reckoned  on  more  than 
due  deduction  being  made  in  any  case,  but  were  never 
seriously  measured,  weighed,  or  intended.  The  Reforma 
tion  took  them  with  German  seriousness  at  their  full 
weight  ;  it  was  right  in  thinking  that  everything  should 
be  taken  thus,  but  wrong  in  thinking  that  the  others  had 
actually  so  taken  it,  and  in  blaming  them  for  anything 
more  than  their  natural  superficiality  and  lack  of  thorough 
ness.  In  general,  we  may  say  that  this  is  what  always 
happens  in  every  conflict  of  German  seriousness  with  the 
foreign  spirit,  whether  the  latter  is  found  in  foreign  or 
in  German  lands  ;  the  foreign  spirit  is  quite  unable  to 
comprehend  how  anyone  can  wish  to  raise  such  a  great 
to-do  about  unimportant  things  like  words  and  phrases. 
Foreigners,  when  they  hear  it  again  from  German  mouths, 
deny  that  they  said  what  they  did  in  fact  say,  and  what 
they  go  on  saying  and  always  will  say.  So  they  complain 
of  calumny,  or  pushing  consistency  too  far,  as  they  call 
it,  when  one  takes  their  utterances  in  their  literal  sense 
and  as  seriously  intended,  and  treats  them  as  part  of  a 
logical  sequence  of  thought,  which  one  traces  back  to 
its  principles  and  forward  to  its  conclusions  ;  although 
one  is  perhaps  very  far  from  attributing  to  them  in  person 
a  clear  consciousness  of  what  they  say  or  any  logical 
consistency.  In  the  demand  that  one  must  take  every 
thing  as  it  is  meant,  but  not  go  further  and  call  in  question 
the  right  to  have  opinions  and  to  express  them — in  that 
demand  the  foreign  spirit  always  betrays  itself,  however 
deeply  it  may  be  concealed. 

77.  The  seriousness  with  which  the  old  system  of 
religious  doctrine  was  now  taken  compelled  this  system 
itself  to  be  more  serious  than  it  had  been  hitherto, 


and  to  undertake  a  new  examination,  interpretation,  and 
consolidation  of  the  old  doctrine  and  practice  for  the 
future.  Let  this,  and  the  example  that  is  to  follow,  be 
to  you  an  illustration  of  the  way  in  which  Germany  has 
always  reacted  on  the  rest  of  Europe.  The  general 
result  was  that  the  old  doctrine  thus  obtained,  at  any  rate, 
such  innocuous  efficacy  as  was  possible  to  it,  once  it  had 
been  resolved  not  to  abandon  it  altogether.  But  in 
particular,  to  those  who  supported  it,  it  became  an  oppor 
tunity  for,  and  a  challenge  to,  more  thorough  and  consistent 
reflection  than  had  been  given  to  it  before.  The  doc 
trine,  thus  reformed  in  Germany,  spread  into  the  neo- 
Latin  countries  and  there  produced  the  same  result,  viz., 
a  loftier  enthusiasm  ;  but,  as  this  phenomenon  was  tran 
sitory,  we  shall  say  no  more  about  it  here.  It  is,  how 
ever,  noteworthy  that  in  none  of  the  entirely  neo-Latin 
countries  did  the  new  doctrine  obtain  permanent  recog 
nition  by  the  State,  for  it  seems  that  German  thoroughness 
among  the  rulers  and  German  good-nature  among  the 
people  were  needed,  if  this  doctrine  was  to  be  found 
compatible  and  made  compatible  with  the  supreme 

78.  In  another  respect,  however,  Germany  exercised  a 
general  and  permanent  influence  on  other  countries — 
though,  indeed,  not  on  the  common  people,  but  on  the 
educated  classes — by  its  reformation  of  the  Church. 
By  means  of  this  influence  Germany  once  more  made 
other  countries  its  forerunners  and  its  instigators  to 
new  creations.  Free  and  spontaneous  thinking,  or  philo 
sophy,  had  frequently  been  stimulated  and  practised  in 
the  preceding  centuries  under  the  dominion  of  the  old 
doctrine  ;  not,  however,  to  bring  forth  truth  out  of 
itself,  but  solely  to  show  that  the  doctrine  of  the  Church 
was  true  and  in  what  way  it  was  true.  Among  the 


German  Protestants,  philosophy  was  at  first  given  the 
same  task  in  regard  to  their  doctrine,  and  with  them  it 
became  the  handmaid  of  the  gospel,  just  as  with  the 
Schoolmen  it  had  been  the  handmaid  of  the  Church. 
In  foreign  countries,  which  either  had  no  gospel  or  else 
had  not  apprehended  it  with  pure  German  devotion  and 
depth  of  soul,  this  free-thinking,  fanned  into  flame  by  the 
brilliant  triumph  it  had  achieved,  rose  higher  and  more 
easily,  unfettered  by  a  belief  in  the  supersensuous.  It 
remained  fettered,  however,  by  a  belief  of  the  senses  in 
the  natural  understanding  \Verstand~\  that  develops 
without  mental  or  moral  training.  Far  from  discovering 
in  the  reason  [Fernunft\  the  source  of  truth  which  rests 
upon  itself,  the  utterances  of  this  raw  understanding 
were  to  this  way  of  thinking  exactly  what  the  Church 
was  for  the  Schoolmen  and  the  gospel  for  the  first  Protes 
tant  theologians.  As  to  whether  they  were  true,  not  the 
slightest  doubt  was  raised  ;  the  only  question  was  how 
they  could  maintain  this  truth  against  hostile  assertions. 

But,  as  this  way  of  thinking  did  not  even  enter  the 
domain  of  the  reason,  whose  Opposition  would  have  been 
more  important,  it  found  no  opponent  except  the  exist 
ing  historical  religion.  This  it  easily  disposed  of  by 
applying  to  it  the  measure  of  understanding  or  common 
sense,  which  was  presupposed,  and  thereby  proving  to 
its  own  satisfaction  that  this  religion  was  in  direct  con 
tradiction  to  the  latter.  Hence  it  came  about  that, 
as  soon  as  all  this  was  made  quite  plain,  the  word  "  philo 
sopher  "  became  synonymous  with  "  irreligious  atheist  " 
in  foreign  countries,  and  both  designations  served  as 
equally  honourable  marks  of  distinction. 

79.  This  attempt  at  complete  emancipation  from  all 
belief  in  external  authority,  which  was  the  right  thing 
about  these  struggles  in  foreign  countries,  acted  as  a  fresh 


stimulus  to  the  Germans,  from  whom  it  had  first  pro 
ceeded  by  means  of  the  reformation  of  the  Church.  It 
is  true  that  second-rate  and  unoriginal  minds  among  us 
simply  repeated  this  foreign  doctrine — better  the  foreign 
doctrine,  it  seems,  than  the  doctrine  of  their  fellow- 
countrymen,  though  this  was  to  be  had  just  as  easily  ; 
the  reason  being  that  they  took  the  former  to  be  more 
distinguished — and  these  minds  tried  to  convince  them 
selves  about  it,  so  far  as  that  was  possible.  But  where 
the  independent  German  spirit  was  astir,  the  sensuous 
was  not  enough,  and  there  arose  the  problem  of  dis 
covering  the  supersensuous  (which  is,  of  course,  not  to  be 
believed  in  on  external  authority)  in  the  reason  itself,  I 
and  thus  of  creating  for  the  first  time  tru£__ghilosophy  I 
by  makin£_free_thought  the  sourcejofjndependent  truth, 
as  it  should  be.  To  that  end  Leibniz  strove  inTiis 
conflict  with  that  foreign  philosophy  ;  and  the  end  was 
attained  by  the  true  founder  of  modern  German  philo 
sophy,1  not  without  a  confession  of  having  been  aroused 
to  it  by  the  utterance  of  a  foreigner,  which  had,  however, 
been  taken  more  profoundly  than  it  had  been  intended. 
Since  that  time  the  problem  has  been  completely  solved 
among  us,  and  philosophy  has  been  perfected.  One  must 
be  content  for  the  present  with  stating  this  as  a  fact, 
until  an  age  comes  which  comprehends  it.  On  this 
condition,  the  result  once  more  would  be  the  creation 
in  the  German  mother-country,  on  the  stimulus  o^ 
antiquity  which  has  come  to  it  through  neo-Latin  lands,! 
of  a  new  age  such  as  never  existed  before. 

80.  We,    their    contemporaries,    have    seen    how    the 
inhabitants  of  a  foreign  country2  took   up  lightly,  and 

1  [Kant,  who  confessed  to  having  been  roused  from  his  "  dogmatic 
slumber  "  by  Hume.] 

2  [The  reference  is  to  the  French  Revolution.] 


with  fervent  daring,  another  problem  of  reason  and  philo 
sophy  for  the  modern  world — the  establishment  of  the 
perfect  State.  But,  shortly  afterwards,  they  abandoned 
this  task  so  completely  that  they  are  compelled  by  their 
present  condition  to  condemn  the  very  thought  of  the 
problem  as  a  crime,  and  they  had  to  use  every  means  to 
delete,  if  possible,  those  efforts  from  the  annals  of  their 
history.  The  reason  for  this  result  is  as  clear  as  day  ; 
the  State  in  accordance  with  reason  cannot  be  built  up 
by  artificial  measures  from  whatever  material  may  be 
at  hand  ;  on  the  contrary,  the  nation  must  first  be  trained 

[<  and    educated    up    to    it.     Only   the    nation   which   has 
first  solved  in  actual  practice  the  problem  of  educating 

p  perfect   men   will   then   solve   also  the   problem    of   the 

u  perfect  State. 

Since  our  reformation  of  the  Church,  the  last-men 
tioned  problem  of  education  has  more  than  once  been 
attempted  by  foreign  countries  in  a  spirited  fashion, 
but  in  accordance  with  their  own  philosophy  ;  and  among 
us  a  first  result  of  their  efforts  has  been  to  stimulate 
some  to  imitation  and  exaggeration.  To  what  point  the 
German  spirit  once  more  has  finally  brought  this  matter 
in  our  days  we  shall  relate  in  more  detail  at  the  proper 

81.  In  what  has  been  said  you  have  a  clear  conspectus 
of  the  whole  history  of  culture  in  the  modern  world, 
and  of  the  never-varying  relationship  of  the  different 
parts  of  the  modern  world  to  the  world  of  antiquity. 
True  religion,  in  the  form  of  Christianity,  was  the  germ  of 
the  modern  world  ;  and  the  task  of  the  latter  may  be 
feummed  up  as  follows  :  to  make  this  religion  permeate 
rthe  previous  culture  of  antiquity  and  thereby  to  spiritualize 
land  hallow  it.  The  first  step  on  this  path  was  to  rid 
this  religion  of  the  external  respect  of  form  which  robbed 


it  of  freedom,  and  to  introduce  into  it  also  the  free- 
thinking  of  antiquity.     Foreign  countries  provided  the 
stimulus  to  this  step  ;    the  German  took  the  step.     The 
second  step,  which  is  really  the  continuation  and  com 
pletion  of  the  first,  namely,  to  discover  in  our  own  selves 
this  religion,  and  with  it  all  wisdom — this,  too,  was  pre 
pared  by  foreign  countries  and  completed  by  the  German. 
The  next  step  forward  that  we  have  to  make  in  the  plan  \ 
of  eternity  is  to  educate  the  nation  to  perfect  manhood.     \ 
Without  this,  the  philosophy  that  has  been  won  will  never 
be  widely  comprehended,  much  less  will  it  be  generally 
applicable  in  life.     On  the  other  hand,  and  in  the  same) 
way,    the   art    of   education   will   never   attain   complete! 
clearness  in  itself  without  philosophy.      Hence,  there  is 
an  interaction  between  the  two,  and  either  without  the 
other  is  incomplete  and  unserviceable.     If  only  because 
the  German  has  hitherto  brought  to  completion  all  the 
steps  of  culture  and  has  been  preserved  in  the  modern 
world  for  that  special  purpose,  it  will  be  his  work,  too,  in 
respect  of  education.     But,  when  education  has  once  been 
set  in  order,  the  same  will  follow  easily  with  the  other 
concerns  of  humanity. 

82.  This,  then,  is  the  actual  relationship  in  which  the 
German  nation  has  hitherto  stood  with  regard  to  the 
development  of  the  human  race  in  the  modern  age.  We 
have  still  to  throw  more  light  upon  an  observation, 
which  has  already  been  made  twice,  as  to  the  natural 
course  of  development  which  events  have  taken  with  our 
nation,  viz.,  that  in  Germany  all  culture  has  proceeded'^ 
from  the  people.  That  the  reformation  of  the  Church 
waTs ""first  brought  before  the  people,  and  that  it  succeeded 
only  because  it  became  their  affair,  we  have  already  seen. 
But  we  have  further  to  show  that  this  single  case  was  not 
an  exception  ;  it  has,  on  the  contrary,  been  the  rule. 


83*  The  Germans  who  remained  in  the  motherland 
had  retained  all  the  virtues  of  which  their  country  had 
formerly  been  the  home — loyalty,  uprightness,  honour, 
a"nd  simplicity  ;  but  of  training  to  a  higher  and  intellectual 
life  they  had  received  no  more  than  could  be  brought  by 
the  Christianity  of  that  period  and  its  teachers  to  men 
whose  dwellings  were  scattered.  This  was  but  little  : 
hence,  they  were  not  so  advanced  as  their  racial  kinsmen 
who  had  emigrated.  They  were  in  fact  good  and  honest, 
it  is  true,  but  none  the  less  semi-barbarians.  There  arose 
among  them,  however,  cities  erected  by  members  of 
the  people.  In  these  cities  every  branch  of  culture 
quickly  developed  into  the  fairest  bloom.  In  them  arose 
civic  constitutions  and  organizations  which,  though  but 
on  a  small  scale,  were  none  the  less  of  high  excellence  ; 
$nd,  proceeding  from  them,  a  picture  of  order  and  a  love 
m  it  spread  throughout  the  rest  of  the  country.  Their 
extensive  commerce  helped  to  discover  the  world. 
Their  league  was  feared  by  kings.  The  monuments  of 
their  architecture  are  standing  at  the  present  day  and  have 
defied  the  ravages  of  centuries;  before  them  posterity 
stands  in  admiration  and  confesses  its  own  impotence. 

84.  It  is  not  my  intention  to  compare  these  burghers 
of  the  German  imperial  cities  in  the  Middle  Ages  with  the 
other  estates  of  the  same  period,  nor  to  ask  what  was  being 
done  at  that  time  by  the  nobles  and  the  princes.  But, 
in  comparison  with  the  other  Teutonic  nations — leaving 
out  of  account  some  districts  of  Italy,  and  in  the  fine  arts 
the  Germans  did  not  lag  behind  even  these,  whereas  in 
the  ^  useful  arts  they  surpassed  them  and  became  their 
teachers — leaving  these  out  of  account,  I  say  that  the 
German  burghers  were  the  civilized  people,  and  the 
others  the  barbarians>-iThe  history  of  Germany,  of 
German  might,  German  enterprise  and  inventions,  of 


German  monuments  and  the  German  spirit — the  history 
of  all  these  things  during  that  period  is  nothing  but  the 
history  of  those  cities  ;  and  everything  else,  for  example 
the  mortgaging  of  petty  territories  and  their  subsequent 
redemption  and  so  on,  is  unworthy  of  mention.  More 
over,  this  period  is  the  only  one  in  German  history  in 
which  this  nation  is  famous  and  brilliant,  and  holds  the 
rank  to  which,  as  the  parent  stock,  it  is  entitled.  As 
soon  as  its  bloom  is  destroyed  by  the  avarice  and  tyranny 
of  princes,  and  as  soon  as  its  freedom  is  trodden  under 
foot,  the  whole  nation  gradually  sinks  lower  and  lower, 
until  the  condition  is  reached  in  which  we  are  at  present. 
But,  as  Germany  sinks,  the  rest  of  Europe  is  seen  to  sink  1 
with  it,  if  we  regard,  not  the  mere  external  appearance, 
but  the  soul.  ^ 

The  decisive  influence  of  this  bu,rgh^^  which  was  1 
in  fact  the  ruling  power,  upon  the  development  of  the 
German  imperial  constitution,  upon  the  reformation 
of  the  Church,  and  upon  everything  that  ever  character 
ized  the  German  nation  and  thence  took  its  way  abroad, 
is  everywhere  unmistakable  ;  and  it  can  be  proved  that 
everything  which  is  still  worthy  of  honour  among  the 
Germans  has  arisen  in  its  midst. 

85.  In  what  spirit  did  this  German  burgher  class 
bring  forth  and  enjoy  this  period  of  bloom  ?  In  the 
spirit  of  piety,  of  honour,  of  modesty,  and  of  the  sense 
of  community.  For  themselves  they  needed  little  ; 
for  public  enterprises  they  set  no  limits  to  their  expen 
diture.  Seldom  does  the  name  of  an  individual  stand 
out  or  distinguish  itself,  for  they  were  all  of  like  mind 
and  alike  in  sacrifice  for  the  common  weal.  Under 
precisely  the  same  external  conditions  as  in  Germany, 
free  cities  had  arisen  in  Italy  also.  Compare  the  his 
tories  of  both  ;  contrast  the  continual  disorders,  the 


internal  conflicts,  nay,  even  wars,  the  constant  change  of 
constitutions  and  rulers  in  the  latter  with  the  peaceful 
unity  and  concord  in  the  former.  How  could  it  be  more 
clearly  demonstrated  that  there  must  have  been  an 
inward  difference  in  the  dispositions  of  the  two  nations  ? 
The  German  nation  is  the  only  one  among  the  neo- 
European  nations  that  has  shown  in  practice,  by  the 
example  of  its  burgher  class  for  centuries,  that  it  is  capable 
of  enduring  a  republican  ^aastitution.  >f . 

86.  Of  the  separate  and  special  means  of  once  more 
raising  the  German  spirit  a  very  powerful  one  would  be 
in  our  hands  if  we  had  a  soul-stirring  history  of  the 
Germans  in  that  period — one  that  would  become  a  book 
for  the  nation  and  for  the  people,  just  as  the  Bible  and 
the  hymn-book  are  now,  until  the  time  came  when  we 
ourselves  had  again  achieved  something  worthy  of  record. 
But  such  a  history  should  not  set  forth  deeds  and  events 
after  the  fashion  of  a  chronicle  ;  it  should  transport  us 
by  its  fascinating  power,  without  any  effort  or  clear  con 
sciousness  on  our  part,  into  the  very  midst  of  the  life  of 
that  time,  so  that  we  ourselves  should  seem  to  be  walking 
and  standing  and  deciding  and  acting  with  them.  This 
it  should  do,  not  by  means  of  childish  and  trumpery 
fabrications,  as  so  many  historical  novels  have  done,  but 
by  the  truth  ;  and  it  should  make  those  deeds  and  events 
visible  manifestations  of  the  life  of  that  time.  Such  a 
work,  indeed,  could  only  be  the  fruit  of  extensive  know 
ledge  and  of  investigations  that  have,  perhaps,  never  yet 
been  made  ;  but  the  author  should  spare  us  the  exhibi 
tion  of  this  knowledge  and  these  investigations,  and  simply 
lay  the  ripened  fruit  before  us  in  the  language  of  the 
present  day  and  in  a  manner  that  every  German  without 
exception  could  understand.  In  addition  to  this  historical 
knowledge,  such  a  work  would  demand  a  high  degree  of 


philosophical  spirit,  which  should  display  itself  just  as 
little,  and  above  all  things  a  faithful  and  loving  disposition. 
87.  That  age  was  the  nation's  youthful  dream,  within 
a  narrow  sphere,  of  its  future  deeds  and  conflicts  and 
victories,  and  the  prophecy  of  what  it  would  be  once 
it  had  perfected  its  strength.  Evil  associations  and  the 
seductive  power  of  vanity  have  swept  the  growing  nation 
into  spheres  which  are  not  its  own  ;  and,  because  it  there 
sought  glory  too,  it  stands  to-day  covered  with  shame 
and  fighting  for  its  very  life.  But  has  it  indeed  grown 
old  and  feeble  ?  Has  not  the  well  of  original  life  con 
tinued  to  flow  for  it,  as  for  no  other  nation,  since  then 
and  until  to-day  ?  Can  those  prophecies  of  its  youthful 
life,  which  are  confirmed  by  the  condition  of  other 
nations  and  by  the  plan  of  civilization  for  all  humanity-f 
can  they  remain  unfulfilled  ?  Impossible  !  O,  tbt. 
someone  would  bring  back  this  nation  from  its  false  path, 
and  in  the  mirror  of  its  youthful  dreams  show  it  its  true 
disposition  and  its  true  vocation  !  There  let  it  stand 
and  ponder,  until  it  develops  the  power  to  take  up  its 
vocation  with  a  mighty  hand.  May  this  challenge  be 
of  some  avail  in  bringing  out  right  soon  a  German  nan 
equipped  to  perform  this  preliminary  task  ! 




88.  IN  the  preceding  addresses  we  have  indicated  and 
proved  from  history  the  characteristics  of  the  Germans 
Jis  an  original  people,  and  as  a  people  that  has  the  right 
tb  call  itself  simply  the  people,  in  contrast  to  other 
^anches  that  have  been  torn  away  from  it ;  for,  indeed, 
Je  word  "  deutsch  "  in  its  real  signification  denotes  we  have  just  said.  It  will  be  in  accordance  with 
our  purpose  if  we  devote  another  hour  to  this  subject 
•and  deal  with  a  possible  objection,  viz.,  that  if  this  is 
something  peculiarly  German  one  must  confess  that  at 
.the  present  time  there  is  butjdttlej^ftjhat  is  German 
among  the  Germans  themselves.  As  we  are  quite 
unable  to  deny  that  this  appears  to  be  so,  but  rather 
•intend  to  acknowledge  it  and  to  take  a  complete  view  of 
it  in  its  separate  parts,  we  propose  to  give  an  explana 
tion  of  it  at  the  outset. 

89.  We  have  seen  that  the  relationship  in  which  the 
original  people  of  the  modern  world  stood  to  the  progress 
of  modern  culture  was  as  follows  :  the  former  received 
•  from  the  incomplete,  and  never  more  than  superficial, 
efforts  of  foreign  countries  the  first  stimulus  to  more 
profound  creative  acts,  which  were  to  be  developed  from 
its  own  midst.  As  it  undoubtedly  takes  time  for  the 



stimulus  to  result  in  a  creative  act,  it  is  plain  that  such 
a  relationship  will  bring  about  periods  of  time  in  which 
the  original  people  must  seem  to  be  almost  entirely 
amalgamated  with  foreign  peoples  and  similar  to  them, 
because  it  is  then  being  stimulated  only,  and  the  creative 
act  which  is  to  be  the  result  has  not  yet  forced  its  way 
through.  It  is  in  such  a  period  of  tirnejthat  Qermany  •( 
finds  itself  a£jyie_£r£S£nt-^^  in  regard  to  trie  great  \ 

majority  of  its  educated  inhabitants  ;  and  that  is  the^ 
reason  for  those  manifestations  of  a  love  of  everything 
foreign  which  are  a  part  of  the  very  inner  soul  and  life 
of  this  majority.  ,  In  the  preceding  address  we  saw  that 
the  means  by  which  foreign  countries  stimulate  their 
motherland  at  the  present  time  is  philosophy,  which  we  I  f 
define'd  as  free-thinking  released  from  all  fetters  of  belief  I  A 
in  external  authority.  Now,  when  this  stimulus  has  not  ' 
resulted  in  a  new  creative  act — and  it  will  result  thus  in 
extremely  few  cases,  for  the  great  majority  have  no  con 
ception  of  what  creation  means — the  following  effects  are 
observable.  For  one  thing,  that  foreign  philosophy 
which  we  have  already  described  changes  its  own  form 
again  and  again.  Another  thing  is  that  its  spirit  usurps 
the  mastery  over  the  other  sciences  whose  borders  are 
contiguous  with  philosophy,  and  regards  them  from  its 
own  ^oint  of  view.  Finally,  since  the  German  after  all 
can  never  entirely  lay  aside  his  seriousness  and  its  direct 
influence  on  life,  this  philosophy  influences  the  habits 
of  public  life  and  the  principles  and  rules  that  govern  it. 
We  shall  substantiate  these  assertions  step  by  step. 

90.  First  of  all  and  before  all  things  :  man  does  not 
form  his  scientific  view  in  a  particular  way  voluntarily 
and  arbitrarily,  is^-Qr^edJqr  him  by  his  life,  and 
is  in  reality  the  inner,  and  to  him  unknown,  root  oL  his 
ownjife,  wEich  has  become  his  way  of  looking  at  _tlimgs7 


It  is  what  you  really  are  in  your  inmost  soul  that  stands 
forth  to  your  outward  eye,  and  you  would  never  be  able 
to  see  anything  else.  If  ypjii_aj^-4ux_se^.difFerently,  you 
must  first  of  all  becomejiiflfirent.  Now,  the  inner  essence 
of  nonrGerman  ways,  or  of  non-originaliffit  is  the  belief 
in  something  that  is__final,  fixed,  and  settled  beyond  the 
possibility  of  change,  the  belief  in  a  border-line,  on  the 
hither  side  of  which  free  life  may  disport  itself,  but  which 
it  is  never  able  to  break  through  and  dissolve  by  its  own 
power,  and  which  it  can  never  make  part  of  itself.  This 
impenetrable  border-line  is,  therefore,  inevitably  present 
to  the  eyes  of  foreigners  at  some  place  or  other,  and  it  is 
impossible  for  them  to  think  or  believe  except  with  such 
a  border-line  as  a  presupposition,  unless  their  whole 
nature  is  to  be  transformed  and  their  heart  torn  out  of 
their  body.  Thgy  ine_vitably_believe  in  jeath  as  Alpha  and 
Omega,  the  ultimate  source  of  all  things  and,  therefore, 
of  life  itself. 

91.  Our  first  task  here  is  to  show  how  this  fundamental 
belief  of  foreigners  expresses  itself  among  Germans  at 
the  present  time. 

It  expresses  itself  first  of  all  in  their  own  philosophy. 
German  philosophy  of  the  present  day,  in  so  far  as  it  is 
worthy  of  mention  here,  strives  for  thoroughness  and 
scientific  form,  regardless  of  the  fact  that  those  things 
are  beyond  its  reach  ;  it  strives  for  unity,  and  that  also 
not  without  the  example  of  foreign  countries  in  former 
times  ;  it  strives  for  reality  and  essence — not  for  mere 
appearance,  but  to  find  for  this  appearance  a  foundation 
appearing  in  appearance.  In  all  these  points  it  is  right, 
and  far  surpasses  the  philosophies  prevailing  in  foreign 
countries  at  the  present  day  ;  for  German  philosophy  in 
its  love  of  everything  foreign  is  far  more  thorough  and 
_more  consistent  than  the  foreign  countries  themselves. 


Now  this  foundation,  which  is  to  be  the  basis  of  mere 
appearance,  is  for  those  philosophies,  however  much  more 
incorrectly  they  may  fur  trier'  define  it,  alwaj^s 

which  is  just  what  it  is  and  nothing  more,  chained  in 
itself  aftd-baunji_±jQj^  De^th,  therefore, 

and  alienation  from  originality,  winch  are  within  them, 
stand  forth  before  their  eyes  as  well.     Because  they  them 
selves  are  unable  by  any  effort  to  rise  out  of  themselves 
to  life  as  such,  but  always  need  a  prop  and  a  support  for 
their  free  upward  flight,  they  do  not  get  beyond  this 
support  in  their  thinking,  which  is  the  image  of  their  life, 
That    which    is   not    Something   is   to   them   inevitably  s 
Notfiing,  "for  their  eyes  see   nothing   else"  .....  ^between  that  / 
Being   in   which   growth   has   ceased   and   the   Nothing,  J 
because    their    life    has    nothing    else.     Their    feeling, 
which   is   their    sole  possible   authority,   seems   to   them 
infallible.     If  anyone  does  not  acknowledge  this  support 
of  theirs,  they  are  far  from    assuming  that  to  him  life 
alone  is  enough  ;    on  the  contrary,  they  believe  that  he 
merely    lacks    the    cleverness    to    perceive    the    support, 
which  they  have   no  doubt   supports   him  too,  and  the 
capacity  to  raise  himself  by  his  exertions  to  their  high 
point  of  view.     It  is,  therefore,  futile  and  impossible  to 
instruct  them  ;   one  would  have  to  construct  them,  and 
to   construct  them   differently,   if   one   could.     Now,  in  j 
this   matter   German   philosophy  of  the  present   day  is  j 
not  German,  but  a  product  of  the  foreign  spirit. 

92.  True  philosophy,  on   the   other  hand,  which   has 
been    perfected    in    itself    and    has    penetrated    beyond    I 
appearance  to  the  very  kernel  of  appearance,  proceeds   [ 
from  the  one,jpure,  divine  life  —  life  simply  as  such,  which 
it  remains  for  all  eternity,  and  always  one  —  but  not  from 
this  or  that  kind  of  life.     It  sees  how  it  is  only  irTappear- 
ance   that   this   life    ceaselessly   closes    and   opens    again, 


nd  how  it  is  only  in  accordance  with  this  law  that  life 
attains  Being  and  becomes  a  Something.     In  the  view  of 
/this  philosophy,  Being  arises,  whereas  the  other  presup- 
|£oses_Jt.     So,  then,  this  philosophy  is  in  a  very  special 
sense    German    only — that    is,    original.     Vice    versa,    if 
anyone  were  but  a  true  German,  he  could  not  philoso 
phize  in  any  way  but  this. 

93.  That  system  of  thought,  although  it  dominates  the 
/     majority  of  those  who  philosophize  in  German,  is  never- 

theless  not  really  a  German  system.  Yet,  whether  it  is 
consciously  set  up  as  a  true  system  of  philosophical  doctrine, 
or  whether,  unknown  to  us,  it  is  merely  the  basis  for  the 
rest  of  our  thinking,  it  influences  the  other  scientific 
,  views  of  the  age.  Indeed,  jt  is  a  main  effort  of  our  age, 
stimulated  by  foreign  countries  as  we  are,  not  merely 
to  lay  hold  of  the  material  of  science  with  the  memory,  as 
our  forefathers  may  be  said  to  have  done,  but  to  turn  it 
over_in  ou£^  own_inde£enden^ thought  and  to  philosophize 
uj)on_it.  So  farjas  the  effort  is  concerned,  our  age  is  in 
the  ..right ;  but.  when,  iiLthe  execution  of  this.^hilosophiz- 
ing,  it  proceeds,  as  is  to  be  expected,  from  the  death- 
creed  .of  foreign  philosophy,  it  will  be  in  the  wrong. 
In  this  place  we  propose  to  glance  only  at  those  sciences 
which  are  most  closely  connected  with  our  whole  plan, 
and  to  trace  the  foreign  ideas  and  views  which  are  so 
widespread  in  them. 

94.  In  holding  that  the  establishment  and  government  of 
States  should  be  looked  upon  as  an  indepejadeiit  art  having 
its_own  fixed  rules,  non-German  countries  have  undoubt 
edly  .sermdjujs^sJiQrerunners,  and  they  themselves  found 
their  pattern  in  antiquity.     But  what  will  be  regarded 
as  tfye  art  of-fehe-State  bjf_such  a  non^Geiman  country, 
which  in  its  language,  the  very  element  of  its  thinking 
and  willing,  has  a  support  that  is  fixed,  closed,  and  dead  ? 


What,  too,  will  all  who  follow  its  example  regard  as  the 
art  of  the  State  ?     Undoubtedly  it  will  be  the  art  of  finding  v7 
a  similarly  fixed  and  dead  order  of  things,  from  which     \\ 
condition  of  death  the  living  movement  of  society  is  ta 
proceed,  and  to  proceed  as  this  art  intends.     This  inten-7    / 
tion  is  to  make  the  whole  of  life  in  society  into  a  large  I    / 
and  ingeniously  constructed  clockwork,  pressure-machine,  \ />. 
in  which  every  single  part  will  be  continually  compelled  X 
by  the  wffoIe~To~~serYe-^^  — The  -intention  is  to/J 

do  a  sum  in  arithmetic  with  finite  and  given  quantities, 
and  produce  from  them  an  ascertainable  result  ;  and  thus, 
on  the  assumption  that  everyone  seeks  his  own  well-being,*^ 
to  compel  everyone  against  his  wish  and  will  to  promote  j 
the  general  well-being.  Non-German  countries  have  re-  " 
peatedly  enunciated  this  principle  and  produced  ingenious 
specimens  of  this  art  of  social  machinery.  The  mother-  \ 
land  has  adopted  the  theory,  and  developed  its  application 
in  the  construction  of  social  machines ;  and  here,  too,  as 
always,  in  a  manner  that  is  deeper,  truer,  more  thorough 
going,  and  much. .superior  to  its  models.  If  at  any  time 
there  is  a  stoppage  in  the  accustomed  process  of  society, 
such  artists  of  the  State  can  give  no  other  explanation 
than  that  perhaps  one  of  the  wheels  has  become  worn 
out,  and  they  know  no  other  remedy  than  to  remove 
the  defective  wheels  and  insert  new  ones.  The  more 
deeply  rooted  anyone  is  in  this  mechanical  view  of 
society,  and  the  better  he  understands  how  to  simplify 
the  mechanism  by  making  all  the  parts  of  the  machine  as 
alike  as  possible  and  by  treating  them  all  as  if  they  were 
of  the  same  material,  the  higher  is  his  reputation  as  an 
artist  of  the  State  in  this  age  of  ours :  and  rightly  so,  for 
things  are  even  worse  when  those  in  control  hesitate  and 
come  to  no  decision  and  are  incapable  of  any  definite 



;  95.  This  view  of  the  art  of  the  State  enforces  respect 
by  its  iron  consistency  and  by  an  appearance  of  sublimity 
which  falls  upon  it  ;  and  up  to  a  certain  point,  especially 
when  the  whole  tendency  is  towards  a  monarchical  con 
stitution,  and  one  that  is  always  becoming  more  purely 
monarchical,  it  renders  good  service.  But^  when  it 
reaches  that  point,  its_impotence  is  apparent  to  everyone. 
I  will  suppose  that  you  have  made  your  machine  as  perfect 
as  you  intended,  and  that  each  and  every  lower  part  of 
it  is  unceasingly  and  irresistibly  compelled  by  a  higher 
part,  which  is  itself  compelled  to  compel,  and  so  on  up  to 
the  top.  But  how  will  your  final  J>art,  from  which 
proceeds  the  whole  compelling  power  present  in  the 
machine,  be  itself  compelled  to__coinjgel  ?  Suppose  you 
have  overcome  absolutely  all  the  resistance  to  the  main 
spring  that  might  arise  from  the  friction  of  the  various 
parts,  and  suppose  you  have  given  that  mainspring  a 
power  against  which  all  other  power  vanishes  to  nothing, 
which  is  all  you  could  do  even  by  mechanism,  and  suppose 
you  have  thus  created  a  supremely  powerful  monarchical 
constitution  ;  how  are  you  going  to  set  this  mainspring 
itself  in  motion  and  compel  it  without  exception  to  see 

it  ?     Tell  me  how  you  are  going 

to  bring  perpetual  motion  into  your  clockwork,  which, 
though  properly  designed  and  constructed,  does  not  go. 
Is,  perhaps,  as  you  sometimes  say  in  your  embarrassment, 
the  whole  machine  itself  to  react  ancl  to  set  its  own  main- 
^pring  in  motion  ?  Either  this  happens  by  a  power  that 
itself  proceeds  from  the  stimulus  of  the  mainspring  ;  or 
/else  it  happens  by  a  power  that  does  not  proceed  thence, 
but  is  to  be  found  in  the  whole  thing  independent  of 
the  mainspring.  No  third  way  is  possible.  If  you 
suppose  the  first,  you  find  yourselves  reasoning  in  a  circle, 
and  your  principles  of  mechanics  are  in  a  .circle  too  ;  the 


whole  machine  can  compel  the  mainspring  only  in  so 
far  as  the  machine  itself  is  compelled  by  the  mainspring 
to  compel  it — that  is  to  say,  in  so  far  as  the  mainspring 
only  indirectly  compels  itself.  But  if  it  does  not  compel 
itself,  and  this  is  the  defect  we  set  out  to  remedy,  no 
motion  whatever  results.  If  you  suppose  the  second  case, 
you  confess  that  the  source  of  all  motion  in  your  machine 
is  a  power  that  has  not  entered  at  all  into  your  calcula 
tions  and  regulations,  and  is  not  in  any  way  controlled  by 
your  mechanism.  This  power  undoubtedly  works  as  it 
can  without  your  aid  and  according  to  its  own  laws, 
which  are  unknown  to  you.  In  each  of  the  two  cases, 
you  must  confess  yourselves  botchers  and  impotent 

96.  Now,  people-have  felt  .this,  and  so  they  have  wished,^ 
under  this  system  which,  in  its  reliance  upon  compulsion,  j 
need  not-concern  itself  about  the  other  citizens,  to  educate  \ 
Sit  any  rate  the  prince  by  every  kind  of  good  doctrine  and  ) 
instruction  ;    for  from  the  prince  the  whole  movement    , 
of  societyj^iooeeds.     But  how  can  one  be  sure  of  finding 
someone  who  by  nature  is  capable  of  receiving  the  educa 
tion  that~U  to  make  a  prince  ?     Even  if  by  a  stroke  of 
luck  he  were  to  be  found,  how  can  one  be  sure  that  he, 
whom  no  man  can  compel,  will  be  ready  and  willing  to 
submit  to  discipline  ?     Such  a  view  of  the  art  of  the 
State,  whether  it  is  found  on  ibreigrTor  German  soil,  is 
always  a  product  of  the  foreign  spirit.     Here  we  may 
remark^tq  the  ho^nourjof  the  German  race  and  the  German 
spirit,  that,  however  good  artists  we  might  be  in  the  mere 
theory  of  these  calculations  which  are  based  on  compul 
sion,  none  the  less,  when  it  came  to  putting  them  into 
practice,    we    were    very    much    hampered    by    the    dim 
feeling  that  things_  should  not  be  done  in  this  way  ;    and'N 
so  in  this  matter  \ve  remained  behind  foreign  countries.  ) 


Therefore,  even  should  we  be  compelled  to  accept  the 
boon  of  foreign  forms  and  laws  intended  for  us,  at  least 
let  us  not  be  unduly  ashamed,  as  if  our  intelligence  had 
been  incapable  of  attaining  these  heights  of  legislation. 
As  we  are  not  inferior  to  any  nation  even  in  legislating, 
when  we  only  have  the  pen  in  our  hands,  it  may  well  be 
that  we  felt  with  regard  to  life  that  even  the  making  of 
such  laws  was  not  the  right  thing  ;  and  so  we  preferred 
to  let  the  old  system  stand  until  the  perfect  system 
should  come  to  us,  instead  of  merely  exchanging  the  old 
fashion  for  a  new  one  just  as  transitory. 

97.  Altogether   different  is    the    genuine  German  art 
of  the  State.     It,  too,  seeks  fixity,  surety,  and  independence 
of  blind  and  halting  nature,  and  in  this  it  is  quite  in  agree- 
j  ment  with  foreign  countries.     But,  unlike  these,  it  does 
i  not  seek  a  fixed  and  certain  thing,  as  the  first  element, 
j  which  will  make  the  spirit,  as  the  second  element,  certain  ; 
on  the  contrary,  it  seeks  from  the  very  beginning,  and  as 
the    very   first    and    only    element,    a   firm    and   certain 
spirit.      This    is    for     it     the    mainspring,    whose    life 
i    proceeds  from  itself,  and  which  has  perpetual  motion  ; 
\  the    mainspring    which    will    regulate,    and    continually 
^tkeep  in  motion,  the  life  of  society.     The  German  art  of 
*-Uthe  State  understands  that  it   cannot  create  this  spirit 
]  jby  reprimanding  adults  who  are  already  spoilt  by  neglect, 
i  but  only  by  educating  the  young,  who  are  still  unspoilt.y 
Moreover,  with  this  education  it  will  not  turn,  as  foreign 
countries  do,  to  the  solitary  peak,  the  prince,  but  to  the 
broad  plain  which  is  the  nation  ;    for  indeed  the  prince, 
too,  will  without  doubt  be  part  of  the  nation.     Just  as 
|  the  State,  in  the  persons  of  its  adult  citizens,  is  the  con- 
[  tinued  education  of  the  human  race,  so  must  the  future 
citizen  himself,  in  the  opinion  of  this  art  of  the  State, 
Vfirst  be  educated  up  to  the  point  of  being  susceptible  to 


that  higher  education.     So  this  German  and  very  modern  — 
art   of  the   State   becomes   once   more   the  very  ancient 
art    of    the    State,    whicja^amcaigv^ 

citizenship    on    education    and   trained    such    citizens    as 
succeeding  ages  have  never  seen.     Henceforth  the  German 
will  do  what  is  in  form  the  same,  though  in  content  it 
will  be  characterized  by  a  spirit  that  is  not  narrow  and; 
exclusive,  but  universal  and  cosmopolitan. 

98.  That  foreign__spirit  to  which  we  have  referred 
prevails  among  the  great  majority  of  our  people  in  another 
matter,  ~viz7r~their  view  of  the  whole  life  of  a  human 
race  and  of  history  as  the  picture  of  that  life.  A  nation 
whose  Lmguage  has^a^dead  and  completed  foundation 
can  only  advance,  as  we  showed  on  a  previous  occasion, 
to  a  certainjrtage  of  development  in  all  the  departments  of 
rhetoric.  That  stage  depends  on  the  foundation  of  the 
language,  and  the  nation  will  experience  a  golden  age. 
Unless  such  a  nation  is  extremely  modest  and  self-depreci- 
ative,  it  cannot  fittingly  think  more  highly  of  the  whole 
race  than  it  does  of  itself,  from  its  own  knowledge  ; 
hence,  it  must  assume  that  there  will  be  a  final,  highest, 
and  for  ever  unsurpassable  goal  for  all  human  develop 
ment.  Just  as  those  animal  species,  the  beavers  and  the 
bees,  still  build  in  the  way  they  built  thousands  of  years 
ago,  and  have  made  no  progress  in  the  art  during  that  long 
period  of  time,  so  it  will  be,  according  to  that  nation, 
with  the  animal  species  called  man  in  all  branches  of 
his  development.  These  branches,  impulses,  and  capaci 
ties  it  will  be  possible  to  survey  exhaustively,  and  indeed 
to  see  on  examining  a  few  members  ;  and  then  it  will  be 
possible  to  indicate  the  highest  development  of  each  one 
of  them.  Perhaps  the  human  species  will  be  far  worse 
off  than  the  bee  or  beaver  species  ;  for,  though  the  latter 
learn  nothing  new,  they  nevertheless  do  not  deteriorate 


in  their  art,  whereas  man,  when  he  has  once  reached  the 
summit,    is    hurled    back    again,    and    may    struggle    for 
hundreds  or  thousands  of  years  to  regain  the  point  at 
which  it  would  have   been  better  to  leave  him  undis 
turbed.     The  human  species,  so  these  people  think,  will 
undoubtedly  have  attained  such  culminating  points  in 
education  in  the  past,  and  enjoyed  more  than  one  golden 
age  ;    to   discover  these  points  in  history,  to  judge  all 
the  efforts  of  humanity  by  them,  and  to  lead  humanity 
back  to  them,  will  be  their  most  strenuous  endeavour. 
^;  According  to  them,  history  was  finished  long  ago  and  has 
/  been  finished  several  times  already.     According  to  them, 
'   there  is  nothing  new  under  the  sun,  for  they  have  destroyed 
-  the  source  of  eternal  life  under  and  over  the  sun,  and  only 
let    eternally-recurring   death   repeat   itself   and   subside 
time  after  time. 

99.  It  is_well  known  that  this  philosophy  of  history  has 

come  to  us  from  "foreign,  countries,  although  it  is  dying 

away   even   there   at   the   present    day   and   has   become 

almost  exclusively  German  property.     From  this  closer 

rkinship  it  follows  also  that  this  philosophy  of  history,  which 

/  we  call  ours,  is  able  to  understand  the  efforts  of  foreign 

(  countries    through    and    through ;     and,   although    this 

view   of   history   is   no   longer   expressed   very   often   in 

those  countries,  they  go  beyond  expression,  for  they  are 

acting  in  accordance  with  it  and  constructing  once  more 

a  golden  age.     This  philosophy  is  even  able  to  prophesy, 

^nd  to  point  out  to  them  the  path  they  have  still  to  take  ; 

jit    can    pay    them    the    tribute    of   genuine    admiration, 

Which  one  who  thinks  as  a  German  cannot  pretend  to  do. 

jlndeed,  how  could  he  ?     Golden  ages  are  to  him  in  every 

respect  a  limitation  proceeding  from  a  state  of  death. 

Gold  may  indeed  be  the  most  precious  metal  in  the  lap 

of  dead  earth,  he  thinks,  but  the  stuff  of  the  living  spirit 


is  beyond  the  sun  and  beyond  all  suns,  and  is  their  source.  ^ 
For  him  history,  and  with  it  the  human  race,  does  not    I 
unfold  itself  according  to  some  mysterious  hidden  law,    I 
like  a  round  dance  ;    on  the  contrary,  in  his  opinion  a  ff 
true  and  proper  man  himself  makes  history,  not  merely  | 
repeating  what  has   existed  already,  but  throughout  all  H 
time  creating  what  is  entirely  new.     Hence,  he  never  J 
expects  mere  repetition,  and  even  if  it   should  happen 
word  for  word  as  the  old  book  says,  at  any  rate  he  does  not 
admire  it. 

100.  Now,  the  deadly  foreign  spirit,  without  our  being  I 
clearly  aware  of  it,  spreads  itself  in  a  similar  way  over  the,/ 
rest  of  our  scientific  views,  of  which  it  may  suffice  to 
have  adduced  the  examples  quoted.  This  happens 
because  at  the  present  day  we  are  working  in  our  own 
fashion  upon  stimuli  previously  received  from  abroad, 
and  are  passing  through  that  intermediate  state.  Because 
it  was  pertinent  to  the  matter  in  hand,  I  adduced  those 
examples  ;  and  partly,  too,  so  that  no  one  should  think 
himself  able  to  refute  the  statements  here  made  by  de 
ductions  from  the  principles  which  we  have  quoted.  .It 
is  not  the  case  that  those  principles  would  have  remained 
unknown  to  us,  or  that  we  could  not  ourselves  have  risen 
to  their  high  level ;  far  from  it.  On  the  contrary,  we 
know  them  quite  well,  and  might  perhaps,  if  we  had  time 
to  spare,  be  capable  of  developing  them  backwards  and 
forwards  in  their  complete  logical  sequence.  Only  we 
reject  them  right  from  the  very  beginning  and  also  all 
their  consequences,  of  which  there  are  more  in  our  tradi 
tional  way  of  thinking  than  the  superficial  observer  may 
find  it  easy  to  believe. 

This  foreign  spirit  influences  not  only  our  scientific:^ 
view  of  things,  but  also,  and  in  the  same  way,  our  ordinary  ,' 
life  and  the  rules  that  govern  it.  But,  in  order  to  make/ 


this  clear,  and  to  make  what  has  been  said  still  clearer,  it  is 
necessary  first  of  all  to  scrutinize  more  keenly  the  essence 
of  original  life^  or  freedom. 

101.  Freedom,  taken  in  the  sense  of  indecisive  hesita 
tion  between  several  courses  equally  possible,  is  not  life, 
but  only  the  forecourt  and  portal  to  real  life.     At  some 
time  or  other  there  must  be  an  end  of  this  hesitation 
and  an  advance  to  decision  and  action  ;    and  only  then 
does  life  begin. 

Now,  at  first  sight,  and  when  viewed  directly,  every 
decision  of  the  will  appears  as  something  primary,  and  in 
no  wise  as  something  secondary,  or  as  the  effect  of  a  primary 
thing  which  is  its  cause.     It   appears  to  be  something 
existing  simply  by  itself,  and  existing  just  as  it  is.     This 
f  meaning  we  wish  to  establish  as  the  sole  possible  sensible 
I  meaning  of  the  word  freedom.     But,  with  regard  to  the 
inner  content  of  such  a  decision  of  the  will,  there  are 
two  cases  possible,  viz.,  on  the  one  hand,  there  appears 
in  it  only  appearance,  separated  from  essence  and  without 
essence  entering  into  its  appearance  in  any  way  ;   on  the 
other  hand,  essence  enters  in  appearance  into  this  appear 
ance  of  a   decision   of  the  will.     In  this  connection  it 
jmust    be    remarked    at    once    that    essence   can    become 
'apparent  only  in  a  decision  of  the  will,  and  in  nothing 
else  whatever,  although,  on  the  other  hand,  there  may  be 
decisions  of  the  will  in  which  essence  does  not  manifest 
itself  at  all,  but  only  mere  appearance.     We  proceed  to 
discuss  the  latter  case  first. 

1 02.  By  its    separation    from,  and  its  opposition    to, 
essence,  as  well  as  by  the  fact  that  it  is  itself  capable  of 
appearing  and  presenting  itself,  mere  appearance  simply 
as  such  is  unaljeFafcljL^deler mined,  and  it  is,  therefore, 
inevitably  just  what  it  is  and  turns  out  to  be.     Hence, 
if  any  given  decision  of  the  will  is,  as  we  assume,  in  its 


content  mere  appearance,  it  is  to  that  extent,  not  in  fact 
free,  primary,  and  original,  but  it  is  a  result  of  necessity, 
and  is  a  secondary  element  proceeding  just  as  it  is  from 
a  higher  primary  element,  viz.,  the  general  law  of  appear 
ance.      Now,  the  thinking  of  man,  as  we  have  mentioned 
several  times  already,  represents  man  to  himself  just  as 
he  actually  is,  and  always  remains  the  true  copy  and  mirror 
of  his   inner   being.     For   this   reason,  although   such   a 
decision  of  the  will  appears  at  first  sight  to  be  free,  just 
because  it  is  called  a  decision  of  the  will,  yet  it  cannot 
appear  so  at  all  to  deeper  and  prolonged  thinking ;    on 
the  contrary,  the  latter  must  think  that  it  is  a  result  of 
necessity,  which,  of  course,  it  actually  is  in  fact.     For 
those  people,  whose  will  has  never  yet  raised  itself  to  a 
higher  sphere  than  the  one  in  which  it  is  held  that  a 
will  merely  appears  in  them,  the  belief  in  freedom  is,  of 
course,  a   delusion   and  a  deception,  proceeding  from  a 
view  that  is  casual  and  does  not  go  beneath  the  surface. 
For  them  there  is  truth  only  in  thought — thought  that 
shows  them  everywhere  only  the  chain  of  strict  necessity. 
103.  The   first    and   fundamental  law   of   appearance, 
simply  as  such,  (we  are  entitled  to  refrain  from  stating  the 
reason,  all  the  more  so  because  it  has  been  sufficiently 
given  elsewhere)  is  this  :   that  it  falls  into  a  manifoldness, 
which,  in  a  certain  respect,  is  an  endless  whole  and,  in  a 
certain    other   respect,  a  whole   complete   in   itself.     In 
this  completed  whole  of  manifoldness  every  single  part 
is  determined  by  all  the  rest,  and,  again,  all  the  rest  are 
determined  by  this  single  part.     Hence,  if  in  the  decision 
of  the  will  of  the  individual  there  emerges  into  appearance 
nothing  but  the  possibility  of  appearance  and  of  repre 
sentation,  and  visibility  in  general,  which  is  in  fact  the 
visibility  of  nothing,  then  the  content  of  such  a  decision 
of  the  will  is  determined  by  the  completed  whole  of  all 


the  possible  will-decisions  of  this  will  and  of  all  the  other 
possible  individual  wills  ;    and  it.  contains,  and  can  con 
tain,  nothing  more  than  that  which  remains  to  be  willed 
after  all  those  possible  decisions  of  the  will  have  been 
|  abstracted.     Hence,  there  is  in  fact  nothing  independent, 
I  original,  and  individual  in  it  ;  on  the  contrary,  it  is  merely 
'  .secondary,  the  consequence  of  the  general  connection  of 
[the  sum  of  appearance  in  its  separate  parts.     Indeed,  it 
has  always  been  recognized  as  such  by  all  who,  though 
on  this  level  of  culture,  were  capable  of  profound  thought, 
and  their  recognition  of  it  has  been  expressed  in  the  same 
words  as  those  of  which  we  have  just  made  use.     But  all 
I  this  is  the  result  of  the  fact  that  in  them  not  essence,  but 
J  merely  appearance,  enters  into  appearaHceC" 

104.  On  the  other  hand,  where  essence_  rtself  enters 
into  the  appearance  of  a  decision  of  the.  will  directly  and, 
so  to  speak,  in  its  own  person  and  not  by  any  representa 
tive,  then  all  that  has  been  mentioned  above  is  likewise 
present,  following  as  it  does  from  appearance  as  a  com- 
pleted  whole,  for  appearance  appears  here  also.  But  an 
appearance  of  this  kind  does  not  consist  merely  of  this  sum 
of  its  component  partsa nor  is  it  exhausted  ky-that  sum  ; 
on  the  contrary,  there  is  in  it  something  more,  another 
component  part  which  is  not  to  be  explained  by  that 
connection,  but  remains  over  after  what  is  explicable  has 
been  abstracted.  That  first  component  part  is  present 
'here  too,  I  said;  that  'something  more'  becomes  visible, 
and,  by  means  of  this  visibility,  but  not  at  all  by  means,  of 
its  inner  essence,  it  comes  under  the  general  law~and  the 
conditions  of  visibleness.  But  it  is  still  more  than  this  , 
'  something,'  which  proceeds  from  some  law  or  other  and 
which,  therefore,  is  a  secondary  thing  and  the  result  of 
necessity  ;  and,  in  respect  of  this  '  more,'  it  is  of  itself  what 
it  is,  a  truly  primary,  original,  and  free  thing.  Since  it 


is  this,  it  also  appears  thus  to  that  thought  which  is  deepest 
and  which  has  found  completion  in  itself.  The  highest 
law  of  visibleness  is,  as  we  have  said,  this :  that  the  thing) 
appearing  splits  itself  into  an  infinite  manifoldness.  This l 
6  more '  becomes  visible,  on  every  occasion,  as  more  than 
what  proceeds  at  any  particular  moment  from  the  sum  total 
of  appearance,  and  so  on  into  infinity  ;  hence,  this  £  more  ' 
itself  appears  infinite.  But  it  is  as  clear  as  noonday  that 
it  acquires  this  infinity  only  because  it  is  on  each  occasion 
visible  and  thinkable,  and  that  it  is  to  be  discovered  only  by 
its  contrast  to  what  follows  eternally  from  the  sum  total, 
and  by  its  being  more  than  this.  But,  apart  from  this 
ne£d  of  thinking  it,  it  exists,  this  £  more  than  everything 
infinite,'  which  has  the  power  of  presenting  itself  eternally  ; 
this  '  more,'  I  say,  exists  in  pure  simplicity  and  invariability 
from  the  very  beginning,  and  in  all  infinity  it  does  not 
become  more  than  this  '  more,'  nor  does  it  become  less. 
Nothing  but  its  visibleness  as  more  than  the  infinite — 
and  in  no  other  way  can  it  become  visible  in  its  highest 
purity — creates  the  infinite  and  all  that  appears  to  appear 
in  it.  Now,  where  this  '  more '  actually  enters  as  such  a 
visible  '  more ' — but  it  can  only  enter  in  an  act  of  will- 
there  essence  itself,  which  alone  exists  and  alone  can  exist, 
and  which  exists  of  itself  and  by  itself,  divine  essence  enters 
into  appearance  a-fteLmakes  itself  directly  visible ;  and  ini 
that  place  there  exists,  for  that  very  reason,  true  originality 
and  freedom,  and  so  there  is  also  a  belief  in  them. 

105.  So,  to  tl^g  general  question  whether  man  is  free 
or  not,  there  is  no  generaTanswer"7~foT7 "juTrtecauselhan 
is  free"  in  the  lower  sense,  because  he  begins  in  indecisive 
vacillation  and  hesitation,  he  may  be  free,  or  he  may  not 
be  free,  in  the  higher  sense  of  the  word.  In  reality,  the 
way  in  which  anyone  answers  this  question  is  the  clear 
mirror  of  his  true  inward  being.  He  who  is  in  fact  no 


more  than  a  link  in  the  chain  of  appearances  may,  perhaps, 
for  a  moment  be  under  the  delusion  that  he  is  free  ;  but 
this  delusion  cannot  hold  its  ground  when  he  thinks  more 
strictly.  Of  necessity  he  thinks  that  all  his  fellows  are 
in  the  condition  in  which  he  finds  himself.  On  the  other 
hand,  he,  whose  life  is  p^£ggssedby  the  truth  and  has 
becom^Jife  direct  fi^m__Go3^TIIfree__and _  believes  in 
freedom  in  himsel£_£nd^Dthers^_ 

1 66.  He  "whcTbelieves  in  a  fixed,  rigid,  and  dead  state 
of  being  believes  in  it  only  because  he  is  dead  in  himself  ; 
and,  once  he  is  dead,  he  cannot  do  anything  but  believe 
thus,  so  soon  as  ever  he  becomes  clear  in  himself.  He 
himself,  with  all  his  kind  from  beginning  to  end,  becomes 

'something  secondary  and  a  necessary  consequence  of 
•some  presupposed  primary  element.  This  presupposition 
is  his  actual  thinking,  and  by  no  means  a  merely  fancied 
thinking  ;  it  is  his  true  mind,  the  point  at  which  his 
thinking  is  itself  directly  life.  Thus  it  is  the  source  of 
all  the  rest  of  his  thinking,  and  of  his  judgment  of  his 
kind  in  its  past,  which  is  history,  in  its  future,  which  is 
his  expectations  for  it,  and  in  its  present,  which  is  actual 
life  in  himself  and  others. 

This  belief  in  death,  as  contrasted  with  an  original  and 
living  people,  we  have  called-the  foreign  When 
once  this  foreign  spirit  is  present  among  Germans  it  will, 
therefore,  reveal  itself  in  their  actual  life  also,  as  quiet 
resignation  to  what  they  deem  the  unalterable  necessity 
of  their  existence,  as  the  abandonment  of  all  hope  of 
improvement  of  ourselves  or  others  by  means  of  freedom, 

1  as  a  disposition  to  make  use  of  themselves  and  everyone 
else  just  as  they  are,  and  to  derive  from  their  existence 
the  greatest  possible  advantage  for  ourselves ;  in  short,  it 
will  reveal  itself  as  the  confession,  eternally  reflecting  itself 
in  every  stirring  of  life,  of  a  belief  in  the  universal  and 


equal  sinfulness  of  all.  This  belief  I  have  sufficiently 
described  in  another  place  ; 1  I  leave  you  to  read  this 
description  for  yourselves  and  to  decide  how  far  it  fits 
the  present  time.  This  way  of  thinking  and  acting 
arises  from  the  state  of  inward  death,  as  has  often  been 
mentioned,  only  when  that  state  becomes  clear  about 
itself.  On  the  other  hand,  so  long  as  that^stateremains 
in  darknesSjjtj^l^  in  free^m^_whicri  belief 

is  in  ijtself  true,  and  is  only  aUelusion  when  it  is  applied 
to  existence  in  such  a  state  of  mind.  Here  we  see  clearly 
and  distinctly  the  disadvantage  of  clearness  when  the 
soul  is  base.  So  long  as  this  baseness  remains  in  darkness, 
it  is  continually  disquieted,  goaded,  and  impelled  by  the 
unceasing  claim  to  freedom,  and  it  presents  a  point  of 
attack  to  the  attempts  to  improve  it.  But  clearness  com 
pletes  it  and  rounds  it  off  in  itself  ;  clearness  imparts  to 
this  base  state  of  mind  a  cheerful  resignation,  the  calm 
of  a  good  conscience,  and  self-satisfaction.  As  their^ 
belief  is,  so  is  the  result  ;  from  now  onwards  they  are  in  j 
fact  incapable  of  improvement  ;  at  the  most  they  serve 
to  keep  alive  among  their  betters  a  pitiless  loathing  of 
evil  or  a  resignation  to  the  will  of  God  ;  but,  apart  from 
that,  they  are  not  of  the  least  use  in  the  world. 

107.  So,  let  there  appear  before  you  at  last  in  complete 
clearness  what  we  havejneant  by  Germans,  as  we  have 
so  far  described  them.  The  true  criterion  is  this  :  do 
you  believe  in  something  absolutely  primary  and  original 
in  man  himself,  in  freedom,  in  endless  improvement,  in 
the  eternal  progress  of  our  race,  or  do  you  not  believe  in 
all  this,  but  ratEer  imagine  that  you  clearly  perceive  and 
comprehend  that  the  opposite  of  all  this  takes  place  ? 
All  who  either  are  themselves  alive  and  creative  and 

1  [Fichte  adds  this  note  here  :  see  the  Guide  to  the  Blessed  Life, 
Lecture  II.] 


productive  of  new  things,  or  who,  should  this  not  have 
|  fallen  to  their  lot,  at  any  rate  definitely  abandon  the  things 
of ^  naught  and  stand  on  the  watch  for  the  stream  of 
original  life  to  lay  hold  of  them  somewhere,  or  who, 
should  they  not  even  be  so  far  advanced  as  this,  at  least 
(have  an  inkling  of  freedom  and  do  not  hate  it  or  take 
'fright  at  it,  but  on  the  contrary  love  it — all  these  are 
joriginal^men  ;  they  are,  when  considered  as  a  people, 
11  gngmaT  people,  the  peoglejir^^gpT^an^^  All 
Wh°  r^*gn  "d^selves  to  being  "something  secondary 
and  derivative,  ariffwBo "Histmctly  know  and  comprehend 
that  they  are  such,  are  so  in  fact,  and  become  ever  more 
so  because  of  this  belief  of  theirs ;  (they  are  an  appendix  to 
the  lif ejyjiich  bestirred  itself  of  its  own  accord  before  them 
or  beside  them  ;  they  are  an  echo  resounding  from  the 
rock,  an  echo  of  a  voice  already  silent  ;  jhey  are,  con 
sidered  as  a  people,  outside  the  original  people,  and  to  the 
latter  they  are  ^strangers  and  foreigners.  In_the  nation 
I  which  to  this  very  day  calls  itself  simgl^y^  people,  or 

I  Gqinians,  originality  has  broken  forth  into  the light  of 

day  in  modern  times,  at  any  rate  up  to  now,  and  the 
power  of  creating  new  things  has  shown  itself.  Now,  at 
last,  by  a  philosophy  that  has  become  clear  in  itself,  the 
mirror  is  being  held  up  to  this  nation,  in  which  it  may 
recognize  and  form  _a  clear  conception  of  that  which  it 
hitherto  becaTn£jby_jiature  without  being  distinctly 

Eonscious  of  it,  and  to  which  it  is  called  by  nature  ;    and 
proposal  is  being  made  to  this  nation  to  make  itself 
/holly  and  completely  what  it  ought  to  be,  to  do  this 
according  to   that   clear   conception   and  with   free,  and 
deliberate  art,  to  renew  the  alliance,  and  to  close  its  circle. 
The   principle   according   to   which   it   has   to   close   its 
circle  is  laid  before  it  :    whoever  believes  in  spirituality 
and  in  the  freedom  of  this  spirituality,  and  who  wills 



the  eternal  development  of  this  spirituality  by  freedom,  \  \ 

wherever  he  may  have  been  born  and  whatever  language  \Y  J   • 
he  speaks,  is  of  our  blood ;  he  is  one  of  us,  and  will  come 
over    to    our    side.     Whoever  _  believes    in    stagnation,   } 
retrogression,  and  the  round  dance  of  which  weTTpok^  ' , 
or  who  sets  a  deacl  "nature  at  the  helm  of  the  world's 
government,  wherever  he  may  have  been  born  and  what 
ever  language  he  speaks,  is-jion-German  and  a  stranger 
to  usj_and  it  is  to  be  wished  that  he  would  separate 
himself  from  us  completely,  and  the  sooner  the  better. 

108.  So,  too,  at  this  point  let  there  appear  before  you 
at  last,  and  unmistakably,  what  that  philosophy,  which 
with  good  reason  calls  itselfthe  German  philosophy, 
really  wants,  and  wherein  it  is  strictly,  earnestly,  and 
inexorably  opposed  to  any  foreign  philosophy  that  believes 
in  death.  The  German  philosophy  has  as  its  support  \ 
what  we  jsajd  above  about_  freedom  j  and  he  that  still 
hath  ears  to  hear,  let  him  hear.  Let  it  appear  before  you, 
not  in  the  least  with  the  intention  of  making  the  dead 
understand  it,  which  is  impossible,  but  so  that  it  may  be 
harder  for  the  dead  to  twist  its  words,  and  to  make  out 
that  they  themselves  want  more  or  less  the  same  thing 
and  at  bottom  are  of  the  same  mind.  This  German  '] 
philosophy  does,  indeed,  raise  itself  by  the  act  of  thinking  i 
— not  merely  boasting  about  it,  in  accordance  with  a  dim 
notion  that  it  ought  to  be  so,  without  being  able  to  put 
it  into  practice — it  raises  itself  to  the  '  more  than  all 
infinity '  that  is  unchangeable,  and  in  this  alone  it  finds  true 
being.  It  perceives  time  and  eternity  and  infinity  in  their! 
rise  from  the  appearing  and  becoming  visible  of  that  One 
which  is  in  itself  invisible  and  which  is  only  comprehended, 
rightly  comprehended,  in  this  invisibility.  Even  infinity 
is,  according  to  this  philosophy,  nothing  in  itself,  and  there 
is  in  it  no  true  being  whatever.  It  is  solely  the  means 


by  which  the  One  thing  that  exists,  and  exists  only  in  its 
invisibility,  becomes  visible,  and  the  means  by  which  there 
is  built  up  for  the  One  an  image,  a  form,  and  a  shadow 
of  itself  in  the  sphere  of  imagery.  Everything  else  that 
may  become  visible  within  this  infinity  of  the  world  of 
images  is  a  nothing  proceeding  from  nothing,  a  shadow 
of  the  shadow,  and  solely  the  means  by  which  that  first 
nothing  of  infinity  and  time  itself  becomes  visible  and 
opens  up  to  thought  the  ascent  to  invisible  being  without 

Within  this,  the  sole  possible  image  of  infinity,  the 
invisible  directly  manifests  itself  only  as  free  and  original 
life  of  the  sight,  or  as  a  decision  of  the  will  made  by  a 
reasonable  being  ;  in  no  other  way  whatever  can  it  appear 
and  manifest  itself.  All  continuous  existence  that  appears 
as  non-spiritual  life  is  only  an  empty  shadow  projected 
from  the  world  of  sight  and  enlarged  by  the  intermediary 
of  the  nothing — a  shadow,  in  contrast  to  which,  and  by 
recognizing  it  as  a  nothing  enlarged  by  transmission, 
the  world  of  sight  itself  ought  to  elevate  itself  to  the 
recognition  of  its  own  nothingness  and  to  the  acknow 
ledgment  of  the  invisible  as  the  only  thing  that  is  true. 

109.  Now,  in  these  shadows  of  the  shadows  of  shadows 
that  philosophy  of  being,  which  believes  in  death  and 
becomes  a  mere  philosophy  of  nature,  the  deadest  of  all 
philosophies,  remains  a  captive,  and  dreads  and  worships 
its  own  creature. 

This  constancy  is  the  expression  of  its  true  life  and  of 
its  love  ;  and  herein  this  philosophy  is  to  be  believed. 
But,  when  it  goes  on  to  say  that  this  being,  which  it 
presupposes  as  actually  existing,  is  one  with,  and  precisely 
the  same  as,  the  Absolute,  it  is  not  to  be  believed,  no  matter 
how  often  it  asserts  this,  nor  even  though  it  takes  many  an 
oath  in  confirmation.  It  does  not  know  this,  but  only 


utters  it  trusting  to  luck,  and  blindly  echoing  another 
philosophy  whose  tenet  in  this  matter  it  does  not  venture 
to  dispute.  If  it  should  want  to  make  good  its  claim  to 
knowledge,  it  would  have  to  proceed,  not  from  duality  as 
an  undisputed  fact  (which  its  dictum,  against  which  there 
is  no  appeal,  does  away  with  only  to  leave  in  full  sway) 
but,  on  the  contrary,  from  unity.  From  this  unity  it 
would  have  to  be  capable  of  deducing  duality,  and  with  it 
all  manifoldness,  in  a  clear  and  intelligible  fashion. 
For  this,  however,  thought  is  needed,  and  reflection 
consummated  and  perfected  in  itself.  The  philosophy 
we  are  referring  to  has,  for  one  thing,  never  learnt  the 
art  of  thinking  in  this  way  and  is  indeed  incapable  of  it, 
having  only  the  power  to  indulge  in  reverie.  Besides,  it 
is  hostile  to  this  way  of  thinking  and  has  no  inclination 
whatever  to  attempt  it ;  for,  if  it  did,  it  would  be  dis 
turbed  in  the  illusion  that  it  holds  so  dear. 

This,  then,  is  the  essential  thing  in  which  our  philo 
sophy  deliberately  opposes  that  philosophy ;  and  on  this 
occasion  it  has  been  our  purpose,  once  for  all,  to  enunciate 
and  establish  this  as  definitely  as  possible. 


WHAT    IS    A    PEOPLE    IN    THE    HIGHER    MEANING    OF    THE 
WORD,    AND    WHAT    IS    LOVE'  OF    FATHERLAND   ? 

1 10.  THE  last  four  addresses  have  answered  the  question  : 
What  is  the  German  as  contrasted  with  other  peoples 
of  Teutonic  descent  ?  The  proof  to  be  adduced  by  all 
this  for  our  investigation  as  a  whole  is  completed  when  we 
examine  the  further  question  :  What  is  a  people  ?  This 
latter  question  is  similar  to  another,  and  when  it  is  answered 
the  other  is  answered  too.  The  other  question,  which  is. 
often  raised  and  the  answers  to  which  are  very  different/ 
is  this :  What  is  love  of  fatherland,  or,  to  express  it  more 
correctly,  what  is  the  love  of  the  individual  for  his  nation  ? 

If  we  have  hitherto  proceeded  correctly  in  the  course 
of  our  investigation,  it  must  here  be  obvious  at  once  that 
only  the  German — the  original  man,  who  has  not  become 
dead  in  an  arbitrary  organization — really  has  a  people  and 
is  entitled  to  count  on  one,  and  that  he  alone  is  capable  of 
real  and  rational  love  for  his  nation. 

The  problem  having  been  thus  stated,  we  prepare  the 
way  for  its  solution  by  the  following  observation,  which 
seems  at  first  to  have  no  connection  with  what  has  pre 
ceded  it. 

in.  Religion,  as  we  have  already  remarked  in  our 
third  address,  is  able  to  transcend  all  time  and  the  whole 
of  this  present  sensuous  life,  without  thereby  causing  the 



slightest  detriment  to  the  righteousness,  morality,  and 
holiness  of  the  life  that  is  permeated  by  this  belief. 
Even  if  one  is  firmly  persuaded  that  all  our  effort  on  this 
earth  will  not  leave  the  slightest  trace  behind  it  nor 
yield  the  slightest  fruit,  nay  more,  that  the  divine  effort 
will  even  be  perverted  and  become  an  instrument  of 
evil  and  of  still  deeper  moral  corruption,  one  can  none 
the  less  continue  the  effort,  solely  in  order  to  maintain 
the  divine  life  that  has  manifested  itself  in  us,  and  with 
a  view  to  a  higher  order  of  things  in  a  future  world,  inV 
which  no  deed  that  is  of  divine  origin  is  lost.  Thus  the 
apostles,  for  example,  and  the  primitive  Christians 
in  general,  because  of  their  belief  in  heaven  had  their 
hearts  entirely  set  on  things  above  the  earth  even  in 
their  lifetime  ;  and  earthly  affairs — the  State,  their 
earthly  fatherland,  and  nation — were  abandoned  by  them 
so  entirely  that  they  no  longer  deemed  them  worthy  of 
attention.  Possible  though  this  is,  and  to  faith  not 
difficult,  and  joyfully  though  one  must  resign  one's  self, 
once  it  is  the  unalterable  will  of  God,  to  having  an  earthly 
fatherland  no  longer  and  to  being  serfs  and  exiles  here 
below,  nevertheless  it  is  not  the 

_ _ 

rule  of  tri^universe  ;  on  the  contrary,  it  is  a  rare  exception. 
It  is  a  grosjymsu,sej}f  religion,  a  misuse  of  which  Chris 
tianity  among  other  religions  has  frequently  been  guilty, 
to    make    a    point    of   recommending,    on   principle    and 
without  regard  to  existing  circumstances,  such  a  with 
drawal  from  the  affairs  of  the   State  and  the  nation  as 
the  mark  of  a  true  religious  disposition.     In  such  a  con-a 
dition  of  things,  if  it  is  true  and  real  and  not  merely  the! 
product   of   fitful   religious   zeal,    temporal   life   loses   allr 
^independent  existence  and  becomes  merely  a  forecourt  1 
of  true  life  and  a  period  of  severe  trial  which  is  endured  \ 
only  out  of  obedience  and  resignation  to  the  will  of  God. 


Then  it  is  true  that  immortal  souls,  as  many  have  imagined, 
are  housed  in  earthly  bodies,  as  in  prisons,  for  their  punish 
ment.  But,  on  the  other  hand,  in  the  regular  order  of 
things  this  earthly  life  itself  is  intendeJ~Eo^Ee~t'ruly  life, 
of  which  we  may  be  glad  and  which  we  may  enjoy  in 
gratitude,  while,  of  course,  looking  forward  to  a  higher 
life.  Although  it  is  true  that  religion  is,  for  one  thing, 
the  consolation  of  the  unjustly  oppressed  slave,  yet  this 
above  all  is  the  mark  of  a  religious  disposition,  viz.,  to 
fight  against  slavery  and,  as  far  as  possible,  to  prevent 
religion  from  sinking  into  a  mere  consolation  for  captives. 
No  doubt  it  suits  the  tyrant  well  to  preach  religious 
resignation  and  to  bid  those  look  to  heaven  to  whom  he 
allows  not  the  smallest  place  on  earth.  But  we  for  our 
part  must  be  in  less  haste  to  adopt  this  view  of  religion 
that  he  recommends  ;  and  we  must,  if  we  can,  prevent 
earth  from  being  made  into  a  hell  in  order  to  arouse  a 
greater  longing  for  heaven. 

112.  The  natural  impulse  of  man,  which  should  be 
abandoned  only  in  case  of  real  necessity,  is  to  find  heaven 
on  this  earth,  and  to  endow  his  daily  work  on  earth  with 
permanence  and  eternity  ;  to  plant  and  to  cultivate  the 
eternal  in  the  temporal — not  merely  in  an  incomprehen- 

%ible  fashion  or  in  a  connection  with  the  eternal  that  seems 
to  mortal  eye    an    impenetrable    gulf,  but  in    a  fashion 

\visible  to  the  mortal  eye  itself. 

Let  me  begin  with  an  example  that  everyone  will  under 
stand.  What  man  of  noble  mind  is  there  who  does  not 
earnestly  wish  to  relive  his  own  life  in  a  new  and  better 
way  in  his  children  and  his  children's  children,  and  to  con 
tinue  to  live  on  this  earth,  ennobled  and  perfected  in  their 
lives,  long  after  he  is  dead  ?  Does  he  not  wish  to  snatch 
from  the  jaws  of  death  the  spirt,  the  mind,  and  the  moral 
sense  by  virtue  of  which,  perchance,  he  was  in  the  days 


of  his  life  a  terror  to  wrongdoing  and  corruption,  and 
by  which  he  supported  righteousness,  aroused  men  from 
indolence,  and  lifted  them  out  of  their  depression  ?     Does 
he  not  wish  to  deposit   these   qualities,  as  his  best  legacy 
to  posterity,  in  the  souls  of  those  he  leaves  behind,  so 
that  they  too,  in  their  turn,  may  some  day  hand  them  on 
again,  increased  and  made  more  beautiful  ?     What  man  of 
noble  mind  is  there  who  does  not  want  to  scatter,  by 
action    or    thought,   a    grain    of   seed   for    the    unending 
progress  in  perfection  of  his  race,  to  fling  something  new 
and  unprecedented  into  time,  that  it  may  remain  there 
and  become  the  inexhaustible  source  of  new  creations  ? 
Does  he  not  wish  to  pay  for  his  place  on  this  earth  and 
the  short  span  of  time  allotted  to  him  with  something    | 
that  even  here  below  will  endure  for  ever,  so  that  he,  the 
individual,  although  unnamed  in  history  (for  the  thirst 
for  posthumous  fame  is  contemptible  vanity),  may  yet  in 
his   own   consciousness   and  his   faith   leave   behind   him 
unmistakable  memories  that  he,  too,  was  a  dweller  on  the^. 
earth  ?     What  man  of  noble  mind  is  there,  I  said,  who 
does  notj^nt  this  ? But  only  according  to  the  needs  of   { 
noble-minded    men    is    the    world    to    be    regarded    and    j 
arranged  ;    as  they  are,  so  all  men  ought  to  be,  and  for 
their  sake  ajnnp  HOPS  a  world ^ejxjst.     They  are  its  kernel, 
and  those  of  other  mind  exist  only  for  their  sake,  being 
themselves  only  a  part  of  the  transitory  world  so  long 
as  they  are  of  that  mind.     Such  men  must  conform  to^\ 
the  wishes  of  the  noble-minded  until  they  have  become^/ 
like  them. 

113.  Now,  what  is  it  that  could  warrant  this  challenge 
and  this  faith  of  the  noble-minded  man  in  the  perman 
ence     and    eternity    of    his    work  ?      Obviously    nothing    j 
but  an  order  of  things  which  he  can  acknowledge  as  in  ( 
itself  eternal  and  capable  of  taking  up  into  itself  that  which 



is  eternal.     Such  an  order  of  things,  however,  is  the  special 

spintua]_nature_of  human  environment  which,  although 

indeed  it  is  not  to  be  comprehended  in  any  conception, 

nevertheless  truly  exists,  and  from  which  he  himself,  with 

all  his  thoughts  and  deeds  and  with  his  belief  in  their 

eternity,  has  proceeded — the  people,  from  which  he  is 

descended  and  among  which  he  was  educated  and  grew 

up  to  be  what  he  now  is.     For,  though  it  is  true  beyond 

dispute  that  his  work,  if  he  rightly  claims  it  to  be  eternal, 

is  in  no  wise  the  mere  result  of  the  spiritual  law  of  nature 

of  his  nation  or  absolutely  the  same  thing  as  this  result, 

/  but  on  the  contrary  is  something  more  than  that  and  in 

so  far  streams  forth  directly  from  original  and  divine  life  ; 

f  it  is,  nevertheless,  equally  true  that  this  '  something  more,' 

immediately  on  its  first  embodiment  in  a  visible  form, 

submitted  itself  to  that  special  spiritual  law  of  nature  and 

found  sensuous  expression  for  itself  only  according  to  that 

law.    So  long  as  this  people  exists,  every  further  revelation 

of  the  divine  will  appear  and  take  shape  in  that  people 

in  accordance  with  the  same  natural  law.     But  this  law 

itself  is  further  determined  by  the  fact   that  this   man 

existed  and  worked  as  he  did,  and  his  influence  has  become 

,    a  permanent   part  of  this  law.     Hence,  everything  that 

follows  will  be  bound  to  submit  itself  to,  and  connect 

,  itself  with,  that  law.     So  he  is  sure  that  the  improvement 

i  achieved  by  him  remains  in  his  people  so  long  as  the 

j  people  itself  remains,  and  that  it  becomes  a  permanent 

i  determining  factor  in  the  evolution  of  his  people. 

114.  This,  then,  is  a  people  in  the  higher  meaning  of 

f    the  word,  when  viewed  from  the  standpoint  of  a  spiritual 

I   world :    the  totality  of  men  continuing  to  live  in  society 

with   each   other    and    continually   creating    themselves 

/   naturally   and   spiritually   out   of   themselves,   a   totality 

I    that  arises  together  out  of  the  divine  under  a  certain 


special  law  of  divine  development.  It  is  the  subjection 
in  common  to  this  special  law  that  unites  this  mass  in 
the  eternal  world,  and  therefore  in  the  temporal  also, 
to  a  natural  totality  permeated  by  itself  .  The  significance  f\ 
of  this  law  itself  can  indeed  be  comprehended  as  a  whole, 
as  we  have  comprehended  it  by  the  instance  of  the 
Germans  as  an  original  people  ;  it  can  even  be  better 
understood  in  many  of  its  further  provisions  by  consider 
ing  the  manifestations  of  such  a  people  ;  but  it  can  never 
be  completely  grasped  by  the  mind  of  anyone,  for  everyone 
continually  remains  under  its  influence  unknown  to  him 
self,  although,  in  general,  it  can  be  clearly  seen  that  such  a 
law  exists.  This  law  is  a  '  something  more  '  of  the  world  of 
images,  that  coalesces  absolutely  in  the  phenomenal  world 
with  the  '  something  more  '  of  the  world  of  originality 
that  cannot  be  imaged  ;  hence,  in  the  phenomenal  world 
neither  can  be  separated  again  from  the  other.  Thatj 
law  determines  entirely  and  completes  what  has  beenj 
called  the  national  character  of  a  people  —  that  la.w_Q£j±u| 
^^  divine".  From  this  it  is 

clear  that  men  who,  as  is  the  case  with  what  we  have 
described  as  the  foreign  spirit,  do  not  believe  at  all  in 
something  original  nor  in  its  continuous  development,  but  j 
only  in  an  eternal  recurrence  of  apparent  life,  and  who  1 
by  their  belief  become  what  they  believe,  are  in  the  higher 
sense   not    a   people   at    all.     As   they   in   fact,   properly 
speaking,  do  not  exist,  they  are  just  as  little  capable  of 
having  a  national  character. 

115.  The  noble-minded  man's  belief  in  the  eternal 
continuance  of  his  influence  even  on  this  earth  is  thus 
founded  on  the  hope  of  the  eternal  continuance  of  the 
people  .from  which  he  has  developed,  and  on  the  character 
istic  of  that  people  as  indicated  in  the  hidden~~law  of 
which  we  have  spoken,  without  admixture  of,  or  corruption 


by,  any  alien  element  which  does  not  belong  to  the  totality 
of  'the  functions  of  that  law.  This  characteristic  is  the 
eternal  thing  to  which  he  entrusts  the  eternity  of  himself 
and  of  his  continuing  influence,  the  eternal  order  of 
things  in  which  he  places  his  portion  of  eternity  ;  he 
must  will  its  continuance,  for  it  alone  is  to  him  the  means 
by  which  the  short  span  of  his  life  here  below  is  extended 

-  into  continuous  life  here  below.  His  belief  and  his  struggle 
to  plant  what  is  permanent,  his  conception  in  which  he 
comprehends  his  own  life  as  an  eternal  life,  is  t]ie_bond 
which  unites  first  his  own  nation,  and  jhen,  through 

,  his  nation,  the  whole  human  race,  in  a  most  intimate 
fashion  with  himself,  and  brings  all  their  needs  within 
his  widened  sympathy  until  the  end  of  time.  This  is 

Qiis  love  for  his  people,  respecting,  trusting,  and  rejoicing 

pin  it,  and  feeling  honoured  by  descent  from  it.  The 
divine  has  appeared  in  it,  and  that  which  is  original  has 
deemed  this  people  worthy  to  be  made  its  vesture  and 
its  means  of  directly  influencing  the  world  ;  for  this 
reason  there  will  be  further  manifestations  of  the  divine 

Mn  it.  Hence,  the  noble-minded  man  will  be  active  and 
effective,  and  will  sacrifice  himself  for  hisjDeople.  Life 
merely  as  such,  the  mere  continuance  of  changing  exis 
tence,  has  in  any  case  never  had  any  value  for  him  ;  he 
has  wished  for  it  only  as  the  source  of  what  is  permanent. 
But  this  permanence  is  promised  to  him  only  by  the 
continuous  and  independent  existence  of  his  nation. 
In  order  to  save  his  nation  he  must  be  ready  even  to  die 
that  it  may  live(\and  that  he  may  live  in  it  the  only  life 
for  which  he  has  ever  wished. 

1 1 6.  So  it  is.  Love  that  is  truly  love,  and  not  a  mere 
transitory  lust,  never  clings  to  what  is  transient  ;  only 
in  the  eternal  does  it  awaken  and  become  kindled,  and 
there  alone  does  it  rest.  Man  is  not  able  to  love  even 


himself  unless  he  conceives  himself  as  eternal  ;   apart  from 
that  he  cannot  even  respect,  much  less  approve  of,  him 
self.     Still    less    can    he    love    anything    outside    himself^ 
without  taking  it  up  into  the  eternity  of  his  faith  and  of  I 
his  soul  and  binding  it  thereto.     He  who  does  not  first 
regard  himself  as  eternal  has  in  him  no  love  of  any  kind,  ] 
and,  moreover,  cannot  love  a  fatherland,  a  thing  which  for  I 
him  does  not  exist.     He  who  regards  his  invisible  life  as 
eternal,  but  not  his  visible  life  as  similarly  eternal,  may 
perhaps   have   a   heaven   and   therein    a   fatherland,  but 
here  below  he  has  no  fatherland,  for  this,  too,  is  regarded 
only  in  the  image  of  eternity — eternity  visible  and  made 
sensuous — and  for  this  reason  also  he  is  unable  to  love  his 
fatherland.      If  none  has  been  handed  down  to  such  a 
man,  he  is  to  be  pitied.     But  he  to  whom  a  fatherland 
has  been  handed  down,  and  in  whose  soul  heaven  and 
earth,  visible  and  invisible   meet   and  mingle,  and  thus, 
and  only  thus,  create  a  true  and  enduring  heaven — such 
a  man  rights  to  the  last   drop   of  his  blood  to  hand  on 
the  precious  possession  unimpaired  to  his  posterity. 

So  it  always  has  been,  although  it  has  not  always  been 
expressed  in  such  general  terms  and  so  clearly  as  we 
express  it  here.  What  inspired  the  men  of  noble  mind 
among  the  Romans,  whose  frame  of  mind  and  way  of 
thinking  still  live  and  breathe  among  us  in  their  works  of 
art,  to  struggles  and  sacrifices,  to  patience  and  endurance 
for  the  fatherland  ?  They  themselves  express  it  often 
and  distinctly.  It  was  their  fir^bjeli^f_jn__the  eternal 
continuance  of  their  Roma,  and  their  confident  expecta 
tion  "tEF~Breyr~3iemselves  would  eternally  continue  to 
live  in  this  eternity  in  the  stream  of  time.  In  so  far  as 
this  belief  was  well  founded,  and  they  themselves  would 
have  comprehended  it  if  they  had  been  entirely  clear 
in  their  own  minds,  it  did  not  deceive  them.  To  this 



very  day  there  still  lives  in  our  midst  what  was  truly 
eternal  in  their  eternal  Roma  ;  they  themselves  live  with 
it,  and  its  consequences  will  continue  to  live  to  the  very 
end  of  time. 

"117.  People  and  fatherland  in  this  sense,  as  a  support 
and  guarantee  of  eternify~~bn  earth  and  as  that  which 
can  be  eternal  here  below,  far  transcend  the  State  in  the 
ordinary  sense  of  the  word,  viz.,  the  social  order  as  compre 
hended  by  mere  intellectual  conception  and  as  established 

-J-auud  maintained  under  the  guidance  of  this  conception. 

\    The  aim  of  the  State  is  positive  law>  internal  peace,  and 

\  a  condition  of  affairs  in  which  everyone  may  by  diligence 
earn  his  daily  bread  and  satisfy  the  needs  of  his  material 
existence,  so  long  as  God  permits  him  to  live.  All  this 
is  only  a  means,  a  condition,  and  a  frajnework  for  what 
love  of^fatherland  really  wants^  viz.,  that  the  eternal  and 
the  divine  may  blossom  in  the  world^  and  never  cease 
to  become  more  and  more  jmre,  perfect,  and  excellent. 
I  That  is  why  this  love  of  fatherland  mustTtself  govern  the 
*—  NState  and  be  the  supreme,  final,  and^absouTte  authority./ 
Its 'rirsF~exer else  of  this  authority  will  be  to  limit  the 
States  choice  of  means  to  secure  its  immediate  object 
—internal  p_eace.  To  attain  this  object,  the  natural 
freedom  of  the  individual  must,  of  course,  be  limited  in 
many  ways.  If  the  only  consideration  and  intention  in 
regard  to  individuals  were  to  secure  internal  peace,  it 
would  be  well  to  limit  that  liberty  as  much  as  possible, 
to  bring  all  their  activities  under  a  uniforin^rule,  and  to 
keep  them  under  unceasm^  supervision.  Even  supposing 
such  strictness  were  unnecessary,  it  could  at  any  rate  do 
no  harm,  if  this  were  the  sole  object.  It  is  only  the  higher 
1  view  of  the  human  race  and  of  peoples  which  extends  this 
narrow  calculation.  Freedom,  including  freedom  in  the 

!    activities  of  external  life,  is  the  soil  in  which  higher  culture 


germinates  ;    a  legislation  which  keeps  the  higher 
in  view  will  allowT  to  freedom  as  wide  a  field  as  possible 
even  at  the  risk  of  securing  a  smaller  degree  of  uniform 
peace  and  quietness,  and  of  making  the  work  of  govern- 
ment  a  little  harder  and  more  troublesome. 

118.  To  illustrate  this  by  an  example.     It  has  happened 
that  nations  have  been  told  to  their  face  that  they  do  not 
need  so  much  freedom  as  many  other  nations  do.     It  may 
even  be  that  the  form  in  which  the  opinion  is  expressed 
is  considerate  and  mild,  if  what  is  really  meant  is  that  the 
particular  nation  would  be  quite  unable  to  stand  so  much 
freedom,   and  that   nothing  but   extreme  severity  could 
prevent  its  members  from  destroying  each  other.     But, 
when  the  words  are  taken  as  meaning  what  they  say,  they 
are  true  only  on  the  supposition  that  such  a  nation  is 
thoroughly  incapable  of  having  original  life  or  even  the 
impulse  towards  it.     Such   a   nation  —  if  a  nation  could 
exist  in  which  there  were  not  even  a  few  men  of  noble  mind 
to  make  an  exception  to  the  general  rule  —  would  in  fact 
need  no  freedom  at  all,  for  this  is  needed  only  for  the 
higher  purposes  that  transcend  the  State.     It  needs  only 
to  be  tamed  and  trained,  so  that  the  individuals  may  live 
peaceably  with  each  other  and  that  the  whole  may  be 
made  into  an  efficient  instrument  for  arbitrary  purposes 
in    which    the    nation    as    such    has    no    part.     Whethes 
this  can  be  said  with  truth  of  any  nation  at  all  we  may 
leave  undecided  ;    this   much  is  clear,   that   an  original 
people  needs  freedom,  that   this    is  the  security  for  its 
continuance  as  an  original  people,  and  that,  as  it  goes  on, 
it  is  able  to  stand  an  ever-increasing   degree  of  freedom 
without  the  slightest  danger.     This  is  the  first  matter  in 
respect  of  which  love  of  fatherland  must  govern  the  State 

119.  Then,   too,   it   must   be  love   of  fatherland  that 


ve veins  the  State  by  placing  before  it  a  higher  object 
Chan  the  usual  one  of  maintaining  internal  peace,  property, 
personal  freedom,  and  the  life  and  well-being  of  all. 
/For  this  higher  object  alone,  and  with  no  other  intention, 
1  does  the  State  assemble  an  armed  force.  When  the 
^question  arises  of  making  use  of  this,  when  the  call  comes 
to  stake  everything  that  the  State,  in  the  narrow  concep 
tion  of  the  word,  sets  before  itself  as  object,  viz.,  property, 
personal  freedom,  life,  and  well-being,  nay,  even  the 
continued  existence  of  the  State  itself ;  when  the  call 
comes  to  make  an  original  decision  with  responsibility 
to  God  alone,  and  without  a  clear  and  reasonable  idea 
that  what  is  intended  will  surely  be  attained — for  this 
is  never  possible  in  such  matters — then,  and  then  only, 
does  there  live  at  the  helm  of  the  State  a  truly  original 
and  primary  life,  and  at  .this  .point,  and  not  before,  the  true 
sovereign_rights  of  government  enter,  like  God,  to  hazard 
the  lower  life  for  the  sake  of  the  higher.  In  the  main 
tenance  of  the  traditional  constitution,  the  laws,  and  civil 
prosperity  there  is  absolutely  no  real  true  life  and  no 
original  decision.  Conditions  and  circumstances,  and 
legislators  perhaps  long  since  dead,  have  created  these 
things ;  succeeding  ages  go  on  faithfully  in  the  paths 
marked  out,  and  so  in  fact  they  have  no  public  life  of 
their  own  ;  they  merely  repeat  a  life  that  once  existed. 
In  such  times  there  is  no  need  of  any  real  government. 
But,  when  this  regular  course  is  endangered,  and  it  is  a 
question  of  making  decisions  in  new  and  unprecedented 
cases,  then  there  is  need  of  a  life  that  lives  of  itself.  What 
spirit  is  it  that  in  such  cases-  may  place  itself  at  the  helm, 
that  can  make  its  own  decisions  with  sureness  and  cer 
tainty,  untroubled  by  any  hesitation  ?  What  spirit,  has  an 
undisputed  right  to  summon  and  to  order  everyone  con 
cerned,  whether  he  Him  self  be  \viningr~or™not,  and  to 


compel  anyone  who  ..sists,  to j^skjsyery thing  includiri 
his  life  ?     Not   the  spirit   of  the  peaceful  citizen's  lov 
for   the   constitution   and   the   Iaws,f1)u£  the   devouring 
flame  of  higher  patriotism,  which  embraces  the  nation1 
as  the  vesture  of  the  eternal,  for  which  the  noble-minded 
man  joyfully  sacrifices  himself,  and  the  ignoble  man,  who 
only  exists  for  the  sake  of  the  other,  must  likewise. sacri 
fice  himself.     It  is  not  that  love  of  the  citizen  for  the 
constitution  ;    that  love  is  quite  unable  to  achieve  this, 
so  long  as  it  remains  on  the  level  of  the  understanding. 
Whatever  turn  events  may  take,  since  it  pays  to  govern 
they  will  always  have  a  ruler  over  them.     Suppose  the  new 
ruler  even  wants  to  introduce  slavery  (and  what  is  slavery 
if  not  the  disregard  for,  and  suppression  of,  the  character 
istic  of  an  original  people  ? — but  to  that  way  of  thinking 
such  qualities  do  not  exist),  suppose  he  wants  to  introduce 
slavery.     Then,  since  it  is  profitable  to  preserve  the  life 
of  slaves,  to  maintain  their  numbers  and  even  their  well- 
being,  slavery  under  him  will  turn  out  to  be  bearable  if 
he    is    anything    of    a    calculator.     Their   life    and    their 
keep,  at  any  rate,  they  will  always  find.     Then  what  is 
there  left  that  they  should  fight  for  ?    'After  those  two 
things  it  is  peace  which  they  value  more  than  anything. 
But  peace  will  only  be  disturbed  by  the  continuance  of 
the  struggle.     They  will,  therefore,  do  anything  just  to 
put  an  end  to  the  fighting,  and  the  sooner  the  better  ; 
they  will  submit,  they  will  yield  ;    and  why  should  they 
not  ?     All  they  have  ever  been  concerned  about,  and  all 
they  have  ever  hoped  from  life,  has  been  the  continuation 
of  the  habit  of  existing  under  tolerable  conditions.     The 
promise  of  a  life  here  on  earth  extending  beyond  the  period 
of  life  here  on  earth — that  alone  it  is  which  can  inspire 
men  even  unto  death  for  the  fatherland. 

1 20.  So   it   has    been   hitherto.     Wherever    there   has 



been   true  government,   wherever   bitter   struggles  have 
been  endured,  wherever  victory  has  been  won  in  the  face 
of  mighty  opposition,  there  it  has  been  that  promise  of 
eternal  life  which  governed  and  struggled  and  won  the 
victory.     Believing   in   that   promise   the    German   Pro 
testants,   already  mentioned  in  these  addresses,   entered 
upon  the  struggle.     Do  you  think  they  did  not  know  that 
peoples  could  be  governed  by  that  old  belief  too,  and  held 
together  in  law  and  order,  and  that  under  the  old  belief 
men  could  procure  a  comfortable  existence  ?    Why,  then, 
did  their  princes  decide  upon  armed  resistance,  and  why 
did  the   peoples   enthusiastically  make    such   resistance  ? 
It  was  for  heaven  and  for  eternal  bliss  that  they  willingly 
poured  out  their  blood.     But  what  earthly  power  could 
have  penetrated  to  the  Holy  of  holies  in  their  souls  and 
rooted  out  their  belief—a  belief  which  had  been  revealed 
to  them  once  for  all,  and  on  which  alone  they  based  their 
rilope  of  bliss  ?     Thus  it  was  not  their  own  bliss  for  which 
I  they  fought  ;    this  was  already  assured  to  them  ;    it  was 
Lthe  bliss  of  their  children  and  of  their  grandchildren  as 
Lyet  unborn  and  of  all  posterity  as  yet  unborn.     These, 
too,  should  be  brought  up  in  that  same  doctrine,  which 
had  appeared  to  them   as  the  only  means  of  salvation. 
These,  too,  should  partake  of  the  salvation  that  had  dawned 
for  them.     This  hope  alone  it  was  that  was  threatened 
by  the  enemy.     For  it,  for  an  order  of  things  that  long 
after  their  death  should  blossom  on  their  graves,  they  so 
joyfully  shed  their  blood.     Let  us  admit  that  they  were 
not  entirely  clear  in  their  own  minds,  that  they  made 
mistakes  in  their  choice  of  words  to  denote  the  noblest 
that  was  in  them,  and  with  their  lips  did  injustice  to  their 
souls  ;    let  us  willingly  confess  that  their  confession  of 
faith  was  not  the  sole  and  exclusive  means  of  becoming  a 
partaker  of  the  heaven  beyond  the  grave  ;    none  the  less 


it  is  eternally  true  that  more  heaven  on  this  side  of  the 
grave,  a  braver  and  more  joyful  look  from  earth  upwards, 
and  a  freer  stirring  of  the  spirit  have  entered  by  their 
sacrifice  into  the  whole  life  of  succeeding  ages.  To  this 
very  day  the  descendants  of  their  opponents,  just  as  much 
as  we  ourselves,  their  own  descendants,  enjoy  the  fruits 
of  their  labours. 

121.  In  this  belief  our  earliest  common  forefathers, 
the  original  stock  of  the  new  culture,  the  Germans,  as 
the  Romans  called  them,  bravely  resisted  the  on-coming 
world-dominion  of  the  Romans.  Did  they  not  have/ 
before  their  eyes  the  greater  brilliance  of  the  Roman 
provinces  next  to  them  and  the  more  refined  enjoyments 
in  those  provinces,  to  say  nothing  of  laws  and  judges' 
seats  and  lictors'  axes  and  rods  in  superfluity  ?  Were 
not  the  Romans  willing  enough  to  let  them  share  in  all 
these  blessings  ?  v  In  the  case  of  several  of  their  own 
princes,  who  did  no  more  than  intimate  that  war  against 
such  benefactors  of  mankind  was  rebellion,  did  they  not 
experience  proofs  of  the  belauded  Roman  clemency  ? 
To  those  who  submitted  the  Romans  gave  marks  of 
distinction  in  the  form  of  kingly  titles,  high  commands 
in  their  armies,  and  Roman  fillets  ;  and  if  they  were 
driven  out  by  their  countrymen,  did  not  the  Romans 
provide  for  them  a  place  of  refuge  and  a  means  of  sub 
sistence  in  their  colonies  ?  Had  they  no  appreciation 
of  the  advantages  of  Roman  civilization,  e.g.,  of  the 
superior  organization  of  their  armies,  in  which  even  an 
Arminius  did  not  disdain  to  learn  the  trade  of  war  ? 
They  cannot  be  charged  writh  ignorance  or  lack  of  con 
sideration  of  any  one  of  these  things.  Their  descendants, 
as  soon  as  they  could  do  so  without  losing  their  freedom, 
even  assimilated  Roman  culture,  so  far  as  this  was  possible 
without  losing  their  individuality.  Why,  then,  did  they 


fight  for  sever£l_^generatiQiLS-in  bloody  wars,  that  broke 
out  again  and  again  with  ever  renewed  force  ?  A  Roman 
writer  puts  the  following  expression  into  the  mouth  of 
their  leaders  :  "  What  was  left  for  them  to  do,  except  to 
maintain  their  freedom  or  else  to  die  before  they  became 
slaves."  Freedomtothem  meant^  just_thjs_:.  remaining 
Germans  _and__contmuing  to  settle  their  own  affairs 
independently  and  in  accordance  with  the  original  spirit 
of  their  race,  going  on  with  their  development  in  accord 
ance  with  the  same  spirit,  ancLpropagating  this  indepen 
dence  in  their  posterity.  All  those  blessings  which  the 
Romans  offered  them  meant  slavery  to  them,  because  then 
they  would  have  to  become  something  that  was  not 
German,  they  would  have  to  become  half  Roman.  They 
assumed  as  a  matter  of  course  that  every  man  would  rather 
die  than  become  half  a  Roman,  and^that  a  true  German 
could  only  want  to  live  in  order  to  be,  and  to  remain,  just 
a  German  and  to  bring  up  his  children  as  Germans! 

They  did  not  all  die  ;  they  did  not  see  slavery  ;  they 
bequeathed  freedom  to  their  ^children.  It  is"  their 
unyielding  resistance  which  the  whole  modern  world  has 
to  thank  for  being  what  it  now  is.  Had  the  Romans 
succeeded  in  bringing  them  also  under  the  yoke  and  in 
destroying  them  as  a  nation,  which  the  Roman  did  in 
every  case,  the  whole  development  of  the  human  race 
would  have  taken  a  different  course,  a  course  that  one 
cannot  think  would  have  been  more  satisfactory.  It  is 
they  whom  we  must  thank — we,  the  immediate  heirs  of 
their  soil,  their  language,  and  their  way  of  thinking — 
I  for  being  Germans  still,  for  being  still^borne  along  on 
'  the  stream  of  original  and  independent  life.  It  is  they 
whom  we  must  thank  for  everything  that  we  have  been 
as  a  nation  since  those  days,  and  to  them  we  shall  be 
indebted  for  everything  that  we  shall  be  in  the  future, 


unless  things  have  come  to  an  end  with  us  now  and  the 
last  drop  of  blood  inherited  from  them  has  dried  up  in 
our  veins.  To  them  the  other  branches  of  the  race, 
whom  we  now  look  upon  as  foreigners,  but  who  by  descent 
from  them  are  our  brothers,  are  indebted  for  their  very 
existence.  When  our  ancestors  triumphed  over  Roma  the 
eternal,  not  one  of  all  these  peoples  was  in  existence,  but 
the  possibility  of  their  existence  in  the  future  was  won  for 
them  in  the  same  fight. 

122.  These  men,  and  all  others   of  like   mind  in  the^ 
history  of  the  world,  won  the  victory  because   eternity  jl 
inspired  them,  and  this  inspiration  always  does,  and  always  u* 
•must,  defeat  him  who  is  not  so  inspired.     It  is  neither  the  ! 
strong   right    arm    nor   the   efficient   weapon   that   winsj 
victories,  but  only  the  power  of  the  soul.     He  who  sets 
a  limit  to  his  sacrifices,  and  has  no  wish  to  venture  beyond 
a  certain  point,  ceases  to  resist  as  soon  as  he  finds  himself  in 
danger  at  this  point,  even  though  it  be  one  which  is  vital 
to  him  and  which  ought  not  to  be  surrendered.     He  who 
sets  no  limit  whatever  for  himself,  but  on  the  contrary 
stakes   everything  he  has,   including   the   most   precious 
possession  granted  to  dwellers  here  below,  namely,  life 
itself,  never  ceases  to  resist,  and  will  undoubtedly  win  the 
victory  over  an  opponent  whose  goal  is  more  limited. 
A  people  that  is  capable  of  firmly  beholding  the  counten 
ance  of  that  vision  from  the  spiritual  world,  independence, 
even  though  it  be  only  its  highest  representatives  and 
leaders  who  are  capable  of  perceiving  it — a  people  capable 
of  being  possessed  by  love  of  this  vision,  as  our  earliest 
forefathers  were,  will  undoubtedly  win  the  victory  over 
a  people  that  is  used,  as  were  the  Roman  armies,  only  as 
the  tool  of  foreign  ambition  to  bring  independent  people 
under  the  yoke  ;    for  the  former  have  everything  to  lose, 
and  the  latter  merely  something  to  gain.     But  the  way 



of  thinking  which  regards  war  as  a  game  of  chance,  where 
the  stakes  are  temporal  gain  or  loss,  and  which  fixes  the 
amount  to  be  staked  on  the  cards  even  before  it  begins 
the  game — such  a  way  of  thinking  is  defeated  even  by  a 
whim.  Think,  for  example,  of  a  Mahomet — not  the 
Mahomet  of  history,  about  whom  I  confess  I  have  no 
opinion,  but  the  Mahomet  of  a  well-known  French  poet.1 
He  takes  it  firmly  into  his  head  once  for  all  that  he  is  one 
of  those  exceptional  beings  who  are  called  to  lead  the 
obscure  and  common  folk  of  the  earth,  and  in  accordance 
with  this  preliminary  assumption  all  his  notions,  no  matter 
how  mean  and  limited  they  may  be  in  reality,  of  necessity 
seem  to  him,  just  because  they  are  his  own,  great  and  sub 
lime  ideas  full  of  blessings  for  mankind  ;  all  who  set 
themselves  against  these  notions  seem  to  him  obscure  and 
common  people,  enemies  of  their  own  good,  evil-minded, 
and  hateful.  Then,  in  order  to  justify  this  conceit  of 
himself  as  a  divine  call,  he  lets  this  thought  absorb  his 
whole  life  ;  he  must  stake  everything  on  it,  and  cannot 
rest  until  he  has  trodden  underfoot  all  who  refuse  to 
think  as  highly  of  him  as  he  does  of  himself,  and  until  he 
sees  his  own  belief  in  his  divine  mission  reflected  in  the 
whole  contemporary  world.  I  will  not  say  what  would 
happen  to  him  if  a  spiritual  vision,  true  and  clear  to  itself, 
entered  the  lists  against  him,  but  he  is  sure  to  be  victorious 
over  those  gamesters  with  limited  stakes,  for  he  stakes 
everything  against  them  and  they  do  not  stake  everything. 
No  spirit  drives  them,  but  he  is  driven  by  a  spirit,  though 
it  be  but  a  raving  one,  the  violent  and  powerful  spirit  of 
his  own  conceit. 

123.  From  all  this  it  follows  that  the  State,  merely  as 
the  government  of  human  life  in  its  progress  along  the 
ordinary  peaceful  path,  is  not  something  which  is  primary 
1  [The  reference  is  apparently  to  Voltaire's  tragedy  Mahomet.] 



and  which  exists  for  its_own_sake,  but  is.  merely  the  means 
to  the  higher  £u££ose__o£_the  eternal,  regular,  and  con 
tinuous  development  of  what  is  purely  human  in  this 
nation.  It  follows,  too,  that  the  vision  and  the  love  of 
this  eternal  development,  and  nothing  else,  should  have 
the  higher  supervision  of  State  administration  at  all 
times,  not  excluding  periodToFpeace,  and  that  this  alone 
is  able  to  save  the  people's  independence  when  it  is 
endangered.  In  the  case  of  the  Germans,  among  whom 
as  an  original  people  this  love  of  fatherland  was  possible 
and,  as  we  firmly  believe,  did  actually  exist  up  to  the 
present  time,  it  has  been  able  up  to  now  to  reckon  with 
great  confidence  on  the  security  of  what  was  most  vital 
to  it.  As  was  the  case  with  the  ancient  Greeks  alone, 
with^jtheJj€^mans-jJie_S^tate  and  the  nation  were  actually 
separated  from  each  other,  and  each  was  represented  for  / 
itself,  the  former  in  the  ^separate  German  ^realms  and 
principalities,  the  Ijttej^represejLted^jvisibly^in  thejmperial 
connection  aml^nvmbly — by  virtue  of  a  law,  not 
written,  but  living  and  valid  in  the  minds  of  all,  a  law 
whose  results  struck  the  eye  everywhere — in  a  mass  of 
customs_and  institutions.  Wherever  the  German  language 
was  ^  spoken,  everyone  who  had  first  seen  the  light  of  day 
in  its  domain  could  consider  himself  as  in  a  double  sense 
a  citizen,  on  the  one  hand,  of  the  State  where  he  was  born 
and  to  whose  care  he  was  in  the  first  instance  commended, 
and,  on  the  other  hand,  of  the  whole  Gomrnpn  fatherland 
of  ^ tVi  e.  Qgrjn EH..  jTajj nru  To  everyone  it  was  permitted 
to  seek  out  for  himself  in  the  whole  length  and  breadth 
of  this  fatherland  the  culture  most  congenial  to  him  or 
the  sphere  of  action  to  which  his  spirit  was  best  adapted  ; 
and  talent  did  not  root  itself  like  a  tree  in  the  place 
where  it  first  grew  up,  but  was  allowed  to  seek  out  its 
own  place.  Anyone  who,  because  of  the  turn  taken  by 


his  own  development,  became  out  of  harmony  with  his 
immediate  environment,  easily  found  a  willing  reception 
elsewhere,  found  new  friends  in  place  of  those  he  had 
lost,  found  time  and  leisure  to  make  his  meaning  plainer 
and  perhaps  to  win  over  and  to  reconcile  even  those  who 
were  offended  with  him,  and  so  to  unite  the  whole.  No 
German-born  prince  ever  took  upon  himself  to  mark 
out  for  his  subjects  as  their  fatherland,  with  mountains 
or  rivers  as  boundaries,  the  territory  over  which  he 
ruled,  and  to  regard  his  subjects  as  bound  to  the  soil. 
A  truth  not  permitted  to  find  expression  in  one  place 
might  find  expression  in  another,  where  it  might  happen 
that  those  truths  were  forbidden  which  were  permitted 
in  the  first.  So,  in  spite  of  the  many  instances  of  one- 
sidedness  and  narrowness  of  heart  in  the  separate  States, 
there  was  nevertheless  in  Germany,  considered  as  a  whole, 
the  greatest  freedom  of  investigation  and  publication  that 
any  people  has  ever  possessed.  Everywhere  the  higher 
culture  was,  and  continued  to  be,  the  result  of  the  inter- 
Action  of  the  citizens  of  all  German  States  :  and  then  this 
higher  culture  gradually  worked  its  way  down  in  this 
•form  to  the  people  at  large,  which  thus  never  ceased, 
,  broadly  speaking,  to  educate  itself  by  itself.  This 
essential  security  for  the  continuance  of  a  German  nation 
was,  as  we  have  said,  not  impaired  by  any  man  of  German 
spirit  seated  at  the  helm  of  government  ;  and  though 
with  respect  to  other  original  decisions  things  may  not 
always  have  happened  as  the  higher  German  love  of 
fatherland  could  not  but  wish,  at  any  rate  there  has  been 
no  act  in  direct ,  opposition  to  its  interests;  there  has 
been  no  attempt  to  undermine  that  love  or  to  extirpate 
it  and  put  a  love  of  the  opposite  kind  in  its  place. 

124.  But  what  if  the  original  guidance  of  that  higher 
culture,  as  well  as  of  the  national  power  which  may  not 


be  used  except  to  serve  that  culture  and  its  continuance, 
the  utilization  of  German  property  and  blood — what  if 
this  should  pass  from  the  control  of  the  German  spirit 
to  that  of  another  ?  What  would  then  be  the  inevitable 
results  ? 

This  is  the  place  where  there  is  special  need  of  the 
disposition  which  we  invoked  in  our  first  address — the 
disposition  not  to  deceive  ourselves  wilfully  about  our 
own  affairs,  and  the  courage  to  be  willing  to  behold  the 
truth  and  confess  it  to  ourselves.  Moreover,  it  is  still 
permitted  to  us,  so  far  as  I  know,  to  speak  to  each  other 
in  the  German  language  about  the  fatherland,  or  at 
least  to  sigh  over  it,  and,  in  my  opinion,  we  should  not 
do  well  if  we  anticipated  of  our  own  accord  such  a  pro 
hibition,  or  if  we  were  ready  to  restrain  our  courage, 
which  without  doubt  will  already  have  taken  counsel 
with  itself  as  to  the  risk  to  be  run,  with  the  chains  forged 
by  the  timidity  of  some  individuals. 

Picture  to  yourselves,  then,  the  new  power,  which  we 
are  presupposing,  as  well-disposed  and  as  benevolent  as 
ever  you  may  wish  ;  make  it  as  good  as  God  Himself ; 
will  you  be  able  to  impart  to  it  divine  understanding  as 
well  ?  Even  though  it  wish  in  all  earnestness  the  greatest 
happiness  and  well-being  of  everyone,  do  you  suppose 
that  the  greatest  well-being  it  is  able  to  conceive  will  be 
the  same  thing  as  German  well-being  ?  In  regard  to 
the  main  point  which  I  have  put  before  you  to-day,  I 
hope  I  have  been  thoroughly  well  understood  by  you  ; 
I  hope  that  several,  while  they  listened  to  me,  thought 
and  felt  that  I  was  only  expressing  in  plain  words  what 
has  always  lain  in  their  minds  ;  I  hope  that  the  other 
Germans  who  will  some  day  read  this  will  have  the  same 
feeling — indeed,  several  Germans  have  said  practically 
the  same  thing  before  I  did,  and  the  unconscious  basis  of 


the  resistance  tjiat  has  been  repeatedly  manifested  to  a 
purely  mechanical  constitution  and  policy  of  the  State 
has  been  the  view  of  things  which  I  have  presented  to  you. 
Now,  I  challenge  all  those  who  are  acquainted  with  the 
modern  literature  of  foreign  countries  to  show  me  one 
of  their  poets  or  legislators  who  in  recent  times  has  ever 
betrayed  a  glimmering  of  anything  similar  to  the  view 
that  regards  the  human  race  as  eternally  progressing,  and 
that  refers  all  its  activities  in  this  world  solely  to  this 
eternal  progress.  Even  in  the  period  of  their  boldest 
flights  of  political  creation,  was  there  a  single  one  who 
demanded  more  from  the  State  than  the  abolition  of 
inequalities,  the  maintenance  of  peace  within  their 
borders  and  of  national  reputation  without,  or,  in  the 
extremest  case,  domestic  bliss  ?  If,  as  we  must  conclude 
from  all  these  indications,  this  is  their  highest  good,  they 
will  not  attribute  to  us  any  higher  needs  or  any  higher 
demands  on  life.  Assuming  they  always  display  that 
beneficent  disposition  towards  us  and  are  free  from  any 
selfishness  or  desire  to  be  greater  than  we  are,  they  will 
think  they  have  provided  splendidly  for  us  if  we  are  given 
everything  that  they  themselves  know  to  be  desirable. 
But  the  thing  for  which  alone  the  nobler  men  among 
us  wish  to  live  is  then  blotted  out  of  public  life ;  and  as 
soon  as  the  people,  which  has  always  shown  itself  responsive 
to  the  stirrings  of  the  noble  mind  and  which  we  were 
entitled  to  hope  might  be  elevated  in  a  body  to  that 
nobility,  is  treated  as  those  to  whom  we  are  referring 
want  to  be  treated,  it  is  degraded  and  dishonoured,  and, 
by  its  confluence  with  a  people  of  a  lower  species,  it  is 
blotted  out  of  the  universe. 

125.  But  he,  in  whom  those  higher  demands  on  life 
remain  alive  and  powerful  and  who  has  a  feeling  that 
their  right  is  divine,  feels  himself  set  back,  much  against 


his  will,  into  those  early  days  of  Christianity,  when  it  was 
said  :  "  Resist  not  evil ;  but  whosoever  shall  smite  thee 
on  the  right  cheek,  turn  to  him  the  other  also  ;  and  if 
any  man  will  take  away  thy  coat,  let  him  have  thy  cloke 
also."  The  latter  is  well  said,  for,  so  long  as  he  sees  that 
thou  still  hast  a  cloke,  he  seeks  to  pick  a  quarrel  with  thee 
so  as  to  take  this  from  thee  also,  and  only  when  thou  art 
quite  naked  wilt  thou  escape  his  attention  and  be  left 
in  peace.  To  such  a  man  the  earth  becomes  a  hell  and 
a  place  of  horror,  just  because  of  his  higher  mind,  which 
does  him  honour.  He  wishes  he  had  never  been  born  ; 
he  wishes  that  his  eyes  may  be  closed  to  the  light  of  day, 
and  the  sooner  the  better  ;  his  days  are  filled  with  ever 
lasting  sorrow  until  he  descends  to  the  grave,  and  for  those 
whom  he  loves  he  can  wish  no  greater  boon  than  a  dull 
and  contented  mind,  so  that  with  less  suffering  they  may 
live  for  an  eternal  life  beyond  the  grave. 

These  addresses  lay  before  you  the  sole  remaining  means, 
now  that  the  others  have  been  tried  in  vain,  of  preventing 
this  annihihl^njDfey^  may  break  out 

among  us  in  the  future,  and  of  preventing  this  degradation 
of  our  whole  nation.  They  propose  that  you  establish 
deeply  and  indelibly  in  the  hearts  of  all,  by  means  of 
education,  the  true  and  all-powerful  love  of  fatherland, 
the  conception  of  our  people  as  an  eternal  people  and 
as  the  security  for  our  own  eternity.  What  kind  of 
education  can  do  this,  and  how  it  is  to  be  done,  we  shall 
see  in  the  following  addresses. 



126.  IN  our  last  address  several  proofs  that  had  been 
promised  in  the  first  address  were  given  and  completed. 
The  present  problem,  the  first  task,  we  said,  is  simply 
to  preserve  the  existence  and  continuance  of  what  is 
German.  All  other  differences  vanished,  we  said,  before 
the  higher  point  of  view,  and  thereby  no  harm  would 
happen  to  the  special  obligations  under  which  anyone 
might  consider  himself  to  be.  If  only  we  keep  in  mind 
the  distinction  that  has  been  drawn  between  State  and 
nation,  it  is  clear  that  even  in  the  past  it  was  not  possible 
for  their  interests  ever  to  come  into  conflict.  Besides,  the 
higher  love  of  fatherland,  love  for  the  whole  people  of  the 
German  nation,  had  to  reign  supreme,  and  rightly  so,  in 
each  particular  German  State.  Not  one  of  them  could, 
indeed,  lose  sight  of  this  higher  interest  without  alienating 
everything  noble  and  good,  and  so  hastening  its  own  down 
fall.  The  more,  therefore,  anyone  was  affected  and 
animated  by  that  higher  interest,  the  better  citizen  also 
he  was  for  the  particular  German  State,  in  which  his 
immediate  sphere  of  action  lay.  German  States  might 
quarrel  among  themselves  about  particular  established 
privileges.  Anyone  who  wished  for  the  continuance  of 
the  established  state  of  affairs,  and  this  must  undoubtedly 



have  been  the  wish  of  every  sensible  person  for  the  sake 
of  the  more  remote  consequences,  must  have  d  lired 
right  to  prevail,  no  matter  on  what  side  it  might  be. 
A  particular  German  State  could,  at  most,  have  airied  at 
uniting  the  whole  German  nation  under  its  sway,  and  at 
introducing  autocracy  in  place  of  the  established  republic 
of  peoples.  Suppose,  as  I  for  instance  of  cour^  -  maintain, 
that  it  is  just  this  republican  constitution  that  has  hitherto 
been  the  best  source  of  German  civilization  and  the  chief 
guarantee  of  its  individuality.  Then,  if  the  unity  of 
government  which  we  are  presupposing  had  itself  borne, 
not  the  republican,  but  the  monarchical  form,  under 
which  it  would  have  been  possible  for  the  autocrat  to 
nip  in  the  bud  for  his  lifetime  any  new  branch  of  original 
culture  throughout  the  whole  German  soil — if  my  sup 
position  is  true,  I  say,  it  would  certainly  have  been  a 
great  disaster  for  the  cause  of  German  love  of  fatherland, 
if  that  plan  had  succeeded,  and  every  man  of  noble  mind 
throughout  the  whole  length  and  breadth  of  the  common 
soil  would  have  been  bound  to  resist  it.  Yet,  even  in 
this  most  unfortunate  event,  it  would  always  have  been 
Germans  who  ruled  over  Germans  and  were  the  original 
directors  of  their  affairs.  Even  if  for  a  short  period  the 
characteristic  German  spirit  had  been  lacking,  there  would 
still  have  remained  the  hope  that  it  would  awake  again, 
and  every  stout  heart  throughout  the  whole  country 
could  have  expected  to  get  a  hearing  and  to  make 
itself  intelligible.  A  German  nation  would  always  have 
remained  in  existence  and  have  ruled  itself,  and  would 
not  have  sunk  into  an  existence  of  a  lower  order.-  Here 
the  essential  point  in  our  calculation  is  always  that  German 
national  love  itself  either  is  at  the  helm  of  the  German 
State  or  can  reach  it  with  its  influence.  But  if,  according 
to  our  previous  supposition,  the  control  of  the  German 


State — whether  now  that  State  appear  as  one  or  as 
seve*  il  does  not  matter  ;  in  reality  it  is  one — dropped 
front  German  into  foreign  hands,  it  is  certain — for  the 
oppobfte  would  be  contrary  to  all  nature  and  utterly 
impossible — it  is  certain,  I  say,  that  from  that  moment 
onwards  no  longer  German,  but  foreign  interests  would 
decide.  V7hereas  formerly  the  united  national  interest 
of  the  Germans  had  its  place  and  was  represented  at 
the  helm  of  the  State,  it  would  now  be  banished.  Now, 
if  it  is  not  to  be  completely  destroyed  from  off  the  earth, 
another  place  of  refuge  must  be  prepared  for  it,  and  that 
in  what  alone  remains,  with  the  governed,  among  the 
citizens.  If  it  already  existed  in  the  majority  of  them, 
we  should  not  have  got  into  the  plight  which  we  are  now 
'  I  considering ;  therefore,  it  does  not  exist  in  them,  and  must 
(first  of  all  be  instilled  in  them.  In  other  words,  the 
majority  of  the  citizens  must  be  educated  to  this  sense 
pf  fatherland,  and,  in  order  that  one  may  be  sure  of  the 
majority,  this  education  must  be  tried  on  all.  So  with 
this  it  is  now  plainly  and  clearly  proved,  as  was  likewise 
^formerly  promised,  that  education  is  the  only  possible 
Imeans  of  saving  German  independence.  Undoubtedly 
it  will  not  be  our  fault  if  anyone  has  not  even  yet  been 
able  to  grasp  the  true  content  and  the  purpose  of  these 
addresses,  and  the  sense  in  which  all  our  statements  are 
to  be  taken. 

127.  To  put  it  more  briefly.  According  to  our  sup 
position,  those  who  need  protection  are  deprived  of  the 
guardianship  of  their  parents  and  relatives,  whose  place 
has  been  taken  by  masters.  If  they  are  not  to  become 
absolute  slaves,  they  must  be  released  from  guardianship, 
and  the  first  step  in  this  direction  is  to  educate  them  to 
manhood.  German  love  of  fatherland  has  lost  its  place  ; 
it  shall  get  another,  a  wider  and  deeper  one  ;  there  in 


peace  and  obscurity  it  shall  establish  itself  and  harden  itself 
like  steel,  and  at  the  right  moment  break  forth  in  youthful 
strength  and  restore  to  the  State  its  lost  independence. 
Now,  in  regard  to  this  restoration  foreigners,  and  also 
those  among  us  who  have  petty  and  narrow  minds  and 
despairing  hearts,  need  not  be  alarmed ;  one  can  console 
them  with  the  assurance  that  not  one  of  them  will  live 
to  see  it,  and  that  the  age  which  will  live  to  see  it  will 
think  otherwise  than  they. 

128.  Now  whether  this  proof,  closely  though  its  parts 
hang  together,  will  affect  others  and  stimulate  them  to 
activity,  depends  first  of  all  upon  whether  there  is  such 
a  thing  as  the  German  individuality  and  German  love 
of  fatherland  which  we  have  described,  and  whether  it 
is  worth  preserving  and  striving  after  or  not.  That  the 
foreigner,  abroad  or  at  home,  denies  this  may  be  taken 
for  granted  ;  but  his  advice  is  not  asked  for.  Besides, 
it  is  to  be  noted  here  that  the  deciding  of  this  question 
does  not  depend  at  all  upon  proof  by  conceptions  ; 
these  can  certainly  make  us  clear  in  this  matter,  but  can 
give  no  information  about  real  existence  or  value,  which 
can  be  proved  only  by  the  immediate  experience  of  each 
individual.  In  a  case  like  this,  though  millions  may  say 
that  it  does  not  exist,  that  can  never  mean  more  than  that 
it  does  not  exist  in  them  ;  by  no  means,  however,  that 
it  does  not  exist  at  all ;  and  if  a  single  person  rises  against 
these  millions  and  declares  that  it  does  exist,  he  carries 
his  point  against  them  all.  Nothing  prevents  me,  as 
I  now  speak,  from  being  in  the  given  case  that  one  person 
who  asserts  that  he  knows  from  immediate  experience 
that  there  is  such  a  thing  as  German  love  of  fatherland, 
that  he  knows  the  infinite  value  of  its  object,  that  this 
love  alone  has  driven  him,  in  spite  of  every  danger,  to 
say  what  he  has  said  and  will  still  say,  since  nothing  else 


is  left  to  us  now  but  speech,  and  even  it  is  checked  and 
restrained  in  every  way.  Whoever  feels  this  within  him 
will  be  convinced  ;  whoever  does  not  feel  it  cannot  be 
convinced,  for  my  proof  rests  entirely  on  that  supposition  ; 
on  him  my  words  are  lost  ;  but  who  would  not  stake 
something  so  insignificant  as  words  ? 

129.  That  definite  education,  from  which  we  expect 
the  salvation  of  the  German  nation,  has  been  described 
in  general  terms  in  our  second  and  third  addresses.     We 
described  it  as  a  complete  regeneration  of  the  human  race, 
and  it  will  be  appropriate  to  link  up  with  this  description 
a  repetition  of  the  general  survey. 

130.  As  a  rule,  the  world  of  the  senses  was  formerly 
accepted  as  the  only  true  and  really  existing  world  ;    it 
was  the  first  that  was  brought  before  the  pupil  in  educa 
tion.     From  it  alone  was  he  led  on  to  thought  and,  for 
the  most  part,  to  thought  that  was  about  it  and  in  its 
service.     The  new  education  exactly  reverses  this  order. 
For  it  the  world  that  is  comprehended  by  thought  is 
the  only  true  and  really  existing  world,  and  into  this  it 
wishes  to  introduce  the  pupil  from  the  very  beginning. 
It  is  only  to  this  world  of  the  spirit  that  it  wishes  to  link 
his  whole  love  and  his  whole  pleasure,  so  that  with  him 
there  will  inevitably  begin  and  develop  a  life  in  it  alone. 
Formerly  there  lived  in   the  majority  naught  but  flesh, 
matter,  and  nature  ;    through  the  new  education  spirit 
alone  shall  live  in  the  majority,  yea,  very  soon  in  all, 
and  spur  them  on  ;    the  stable  and  certain  spirit,  which 
was  mentioned  before  as  the  only  possible  foundation 
of  a  well-organized  State,  shall  be  produced  everywhere. 

131.  Such    an    education    undoubtedly    achieves    the 
object  which  we  have  specially  set  before  us  and  from 
which  our  addresses  started.     That   spirit  which   is   to 
be  produced  includes  the  higher  love  of  fatherland,  the 


conception  of  its  earthly  life  as  eternal  and  of  the  father 
land  as  the  support  of  that  eternity.  If  it  is  produced  in 
the  Germans,  it  will  include  love  of  the  German  father 
land  as  one  of  its  essential  elements,  and  from  that  love 
there  spring  of  themselves  the  courageous  defender  of 
his  country  and  the  peaceful  and  honest  citizen.  Such 
an  education,  indeed,  achieves  even  more  than  that 
immediate  object ;  that  is  always  the  case  when  thorough 
going  measures  are  willed  for  a  great  purpose  ;  the  whole 
man  is  inwardly  perfected  and  completed  in  every  part, 
and  outwardly  equipped  with  perfect  fitness  for  all 
his  purposes  in  time  and  eternity.  Spiritual  nature  has 
inseparably  connected  our  complete  cure  from  all  the 
evils  that  oppress  us  with  our  recovery  as  a  nation  and 

132.  We    have    nothing   more    to    do    here   with   the 
stupid  surprise  of  some,  when  we  assert  such  a  world  of 
pure  thought,  and  assert  it,  indeed,  as  the  only  possible 
world,  and  reject  the  world  of  sense  ;  nor  have  we  anything 
more   to   do   with   those   who    deny   the   former   world 
altogether,  or  deny  only  the  possibility  that  the  majority 
of  the  people  at  large  can  be  brought  into  it.     We  have 
already  completely  rejected  these  things.     He  who  does 
not   yet   know   that   there   is    a    world   of   thought    can 
instruct   himself   meanwhile   about   it  elsewhere  by  the 
available  means ;  we  have  no  time  for  that  instruction 
here.     But  we  do  intend  just  this ;    to  show  how  even 
the  majority  of  the  people  at  large  can  be  raised  into 
that  world. 

133.  Now,  in  our  deliberate  opinion  the  idea  of  such 
a  new  education  is  not   to '  be  considered  as  simply  a 
picture  set  up  for  the  exercise  of  ingenuity  of  mind  or  of 
skill  in  argument,  but  is  rather  to  be  put  into  practice 
at  once  and  introduced  into  life.     Our  task,  therefore, 


is  first  of  all  to  point  out  what  already  exists  in  the  actual 
world  with  which  the  realization  of  this  should  be  con 

We  give  this  answer  to  the  question  :  it  ought  to  be 
connected  with  the  system  of  instruction  invented  and 
proposed  by  Johann  Heinrich  Pestalozzi,  and  already 
successfully  practised  under  his  eyes.  We  intend  to 
give  good  reasons  for  this  decision  of  ours  and  to  define  it 

First  of  all,  we  have  read  and  reflected  over  the  man's 
own  writings,  from  which  we  have  formed  our  conception 
of  his  art  of  instruction  and  education.  We  have  taken 
no  notice  of  the  reports  and  opinions  of  the  current 
literary  periodicals,  nor  of  their  further  opinions  upon 
those  opinions.  We  observe  this  in  order  to  recommend 
this  method  and  the  complete  avoidance  of  its  opposite 
to  everyone  who  wishes  likewise  to  have  a  conception  of 
this  subject.  Similarly,  up  to  the  present  we  have  not 
desired  to  see  anything  of  it  in  actual  practice  ;  not  from 
disrespect,  but  because  we  wanted  first  to  provide  our 
selves  with  a  definite  and  clear  conception  of  the  inventor's 
true  intention.  The  application  may  often  fall  short  of 
the  intention,  but  from  that  conception  the  conception 
of  the  application  and  of  the  inevitable  result  follows 
without  any  experiment,  and,  equipped  with  this  alone, 
one  can  truly  understand  the  application  and  judge  it 
correctly.  If,  as  some  believe,  even  this  system  of 
instruction  has  already  degenerated  here  and  there  into 
blind,  empirical  groping  and  into  empty  play  and  show, 
for  that  the  author's  fundamental  conception,  at  least, 
is  in  my  opinion  quite  blameless. 

134.  Now  this  fundamental  conception  is  warranted 
for  me,  first  of  all  by  the  individuality  of  the  man  himself, 
as  he  shows  it  in  his  writings  with  the  truest  and  most 


hearty  frankness.  I  could  have  used  him,  just  as  well  as 
I  used  Luther  or  as  I  might  use  anyone  else  if  there 
have  been  others  like  them,  to  demonstrate  the  char 
acteristics  of  the  German  spirit  and  to  give  the  gratifying 
proof  that  this  spirit,  in  all  its  miraculous  power,  reigned 
down  to  the  present  day  within  the  range  of  the  German 
tongue.  He,  also,  has  spent  a  laborious  life  struggling 
with  every  possible  obstacle ;  within,  with  his  own 
stubborn  obscurity  and  awkwardness  and  his  very  scanty 
supply  of  the  most  ordinary  aids  to  scholarly  education  ; 
without,  with  continual  misunderstanding.  Towards  an 
end,  which  he  simply  surmised  and  which  was  quite 
unknown  to  him,  he  has  struggled,  upheld  and  stimulated 
by  an  unconquerable  and  all-powerful  and  German 
impulse,  a  love  of  the  poor  neglected  people.  As  in  the 
case  of  Luther,  only  in  another  connection  and  one  more 
in  keeping  with  his  age,  this  all-powerful  love  had  made 
him  its  instrument  and  had  become  the  life  of  his  life. 
It  was  the  unknown  but  definite  and  unchanging  guide 
which  led  his  life  through  the  all-enveloping  night,  and, 
because  it  was  impossible  for  such  a  love  to  leave  the  earth 
unrewarded,  crowned  its  evening  with  his  truly  spiritual 
invention,  which  achieved  far  more  than  he  had  ever 
longed  for  in  his  boldest  wishes.  He  wished  simply  to 
help  the  people  ;  but  his  invention,  when  developed  to 
the  full,  raises  the  people,  removes  every  difference 
between  them  and  an  educated  class,  provides  national 
education  instead  of  the  desired  popular  education,  and 
might,  indeed,  have  the  power  of  helping  peoples  and  the 
whole  human  race  to  rise  from  the  depths  of  their  present 

135.  This  fundamental  conception  of  his  appears  in 
his  writings  with  complete  clearness  and  unmistakable 
precision.  First  of  all,  in  regard  to  the  form,  he  desires, 


not  the  caprice  and  blind  groping  that  has  hitherto 
existed,  but  a  definite  and  deliberate  art  of  education  ; 
that  is  what  we,  too,  wish  and  what  German  thoroughness 
must  necessarily  wish.  He  relates 1  very  frankly  how  a 
French  phrase,  that  he  wanted  to  make  education  mecha 
nical,  made  his  mind  clear  concerning  this  aim  of  his. 
In  regard  to  the  content,  the  first  step  in  the  new  educa 
tion  described  by  me  is  that  it  shall  stimulate  and  train 
the  free  activity  of  the  pupil's  mind,  his  thought,  in  which 
later  the  world  of  his  love  shall  dawn  for  him.  With 
this  first  step  Pestalozzi's  writings  deal  excellently ; 
our  examination  of  his  fundamental  conception  treats 
this  subject  first  of  all.  In  this  regard  his  censure  of 
the  previous  system  of  instruction,  that  it  has  only 
plunged  the  pupil  in  mist  and  shadow  and  has  never  let 
him  reach  actual  truth  and  reality,  agrees  with  ours, 
that  this  system  has  never  been  able  to  influence  life,  nor 
to  form  the  root  of  life.  Pestalozzi's  proposed  remedy 
for  this,  to  lead  the  pupil  to  direct  perception,  is  synony 
mous  with  ours,  to  stimulate  his  mental  activity  to  the 
creation  of  images  and  to  let  him  learn  everything  just 
by  this  free  formation  ;  for  perception  of  what  has  been 
freely  created  is  the  only  possible  perception.  The 
application,  to  be  mentioned  later,  proves  that  the 
inventor  really  means  this,  and  does  not  understand  by 
perception  that  blindly  groping  and  fumbling  sense- 
impression.  Quite  rightly,  too,  this  general  and  very  far- 
reaching  law  is  laid  down  for  the  stimulation  of  the  pupil's 
perception  by  education  :  from  the  beginning  keep  pace 
exactly  with  the  evolution  of  the  child's  powers  that  are 
to  be  developed. 

136.  On    the    other    hand,    in    Pestalozzi's    system    of 
instruction  all  the  mistakes  in  terms  and  proposals  have 
1  [See  De  Guimps,Life  of  Pestalozzi,  Sonnenschein  &  Co.,  1903,  p.  183.] 


one  common  source,  the  confusion  and  opposition  of 
two  things  ;  on  one  side,  the  paltry  and  limited  end 
originally  aimed  at,  namely,  to  lend  such  aid  as  is  abso 
lutely  necessary  to  those  children  from  among  the  people 
who  are  the  most  neglected,  on  the  supposition  that  the 
whole  people  will  remain  as  it  is  ;  and  on  the  other  side, 
the  means  leading  to  a  far  higher  end.  One  is  saved  from 
all  error  and  obtains  a  completely  consistent  conception 
by  dropping  the  former  and  everything  that  results  from 
its  consideration,  and  keeping  only  to  the  latter  and  carry 
ing  it  out  consistently.  Undoubtedly  it  was  solely  the 
desire  to  release  from  school  as  soon  as  possible  the  very 
poorest  children  for  bread-winning,  and  yet  to  provide 
them  with  a  means  of  making  up  for  the  interrupted 
instruction,  that  gave  rise  in  Pestalozzi's  loving  heart  to 
the  over-estimation  of  reading  and  writing,  to  the  setting 
up  of  these  as  almost  the  aim  and  climax  of  popular 
education,  and  to  his  simple  belief  in  the  testimony  of 
past  centuries,  that  this  is  the  best  aid  to  instruction.  For 
otherwise  he  would  have  found  that  reading  and  writing 
have  been  hitherto  just  the  very  instruments  for  envelop 
ing  men  in  mist  and  shadow  and  for  making  them  con 
ceited.  That  same  desire  of  his  is  undoubtedly  the  source 
of  several  other  proposals  that  are  in  contradiction  to  his 
priru:ipla^ol_direct:  perception,  and  especially  his  utterly 
false  notion  of  language  as  a  means  of  raising  our  race 
from  dim  perception  to  clear  ideas.  For  our  part,  we 
have  not  spoken  of  the  education  of  the  people  in  opposi 
tion  to  that  of  the  higher  classes,  because  we  no  longer 
want  to  have  the  word  "  people  "  used  in  the  sense  of 
vulgar  common  populace,  nor  can  German  national 
interests  tolerate  this  sense  of  the  word  any  longer ;  but 
we  have  spoken  of  national  education.  If  it  shall  ever 

come  to  this,   the  miserable  wish    that  education   shall 



be  finished  very  soon  and  the  child  again  set  to  work 
must  not  be  breathed  any  longer,  but  given  up  right  at 
the  beginning  of  the  consideration  of  this  matter.  In 
my  opinion,  indeed,  this  education  will  not  be  expensive, 
the  institutions  will  be  able  to  maintain  themselves  to 
a  great  extent,  and  work  will  not  suffer.  I  shall  state  my 
thoughts  about  this  in  due  course  ;  but  even  if  it  were  not 
so,  the  pupil  must  unconditionally,  and  at  any  cost,  remain 
until  education  is  and  can  be  finished.  That  half- 
education  is  not  a  bit  better  than  none  at  all ;  it  leaves 
matters  as  they  were  ;  and  if  anyone  desires  this,  he  had 
better  dispense  also  with  the  half  and  declare  plainly  at 
the  very  beginning  that  he  does  not  want  mankind  to  be 
helped.  Now,  assuming  that  the  pupil  is  to  remain  until 
education  is  finished,  reading  and  writing  can  be  of  no 
use  in  the  purely  national  education,  so  long  as  this 
education  continues.  But  it  can,  indeed,  be  very  harm- 
Vul ;  because,  as  it  has  hitherto  so  often  done,  it  may  easily 
Jjead  the  pupil  astray  from  direct  perception  to  mere 
signs,  and  from  attention,  which  knows  that  it  grasps 
nothing  if  it  does  not  grasp  it  now  and  here,  to  distrac 
tion,  which  consoles  itself  by  writing  things  down  and 
wants  to  learn  some  day  from  paper  what  it  will  probably 
never  learn,  and,  in  general,  to  the  dreaming  which  so 
often  accompanies  dealings  with  the  letters  of  the  alphabet. 
Not  until  the  very  end  of  education,  and  as  its  last  gift 
for  the  journey,  should  these  arts  be  imparted  and  the 
pupil  led  by  analysis  of  the  language,  of  which  he  has  been 
completely  master  for  a  long  time,  to  discover  and  use 
the  letters.  After  the  rest  of  the  training  he  has  already 
acquired,  this  would  be  play. 

137.  So  much  for  the  purely  universal  national  educa 
tion.  It  is  a  different  matter  with  the  future  scholar. 
Some  day  he  shall  not  only  express  his  feelings  about  what  is 


universally  valid,  but  also  by  solitary  reflection  lift  up  into 
the  light  of  language  the  hidden  and  real  depths  of  his 
heart,  of  which  he  is  unconscious.  He  must,  therefore,  get 
into  his  hands  sooner,  in  the  form  of  writing,  the  instru 
ment  of  this  solitary  yet  audible  thought,  and  learn  to 
create  ;  yet  even  in  his  case  there  will  be  less  need  of 
haste  than  there  has  been  in  the  past.  This  will  become 
distinctly  clearer  in  due  course,  when  we  distinguish 
between  purely  national  and  scholarly  education. 

138.  Everything  that  Pestalozzi  says  about  sound  and 
word  as  means  for  the  development  of  mental  power  is  to 
be  corrected  and  limited  in  accordance  with  this  view. 
The  scope  of  these  addresses  does  not  permit  me  to  go 
into  details.  I  make,  however,  just  the  following  remark 
which  profoundly  affects  the  whole  matter.  His  book 
for  mothers  contains  the  foundation  of  his  development 
of  all  knowledge  ;  for,  among  other  things,  he  relies  very 
much  on  home  education.  First  of  all,  so  far  as  this 
home  education  itself  is  concerned,  we  have  certainly 
no  desire  to  quarrel  with  him  over  the  hopes  that  he 
forms  of  mothers.  But,  so  far  as  our  higher  conception 
of  a  national  education  is  concerned,  we  are  firmly  con 
vinced  that,  especially  among  the  working  classes,  it 
cannot  be  either  begun,  continued,  or  ended  in  the  parents' 
house,  nor,  indeed,  without  the  complete  separation  of 
the  children  from  them.  The  hardship,  the  daily  anxiety 
about  making  ends  meet,  the  petty  meanness  and  avarice, 
which  occur  here,  would  inevitably  infect  the  children, 
drag  them  down,  and  prevent  them  from  making  a  free 
flight  into  the  world  of  thought.  This  also  is  one  of  the 
absolute  and  indispensable  conditions  for  the  realization 
of  our  scheme.  We  have  seen  enough  of  what  will  happen 
if  mankind  as  a  whole  repeats  itself  in  each  successive 
generation  as  it  was  in  the  previous  one.  If  its  complete 


reformation  is  intended,  it  must  once  for  all  be  entirely 
separated  from  itself  and  cut  off  altogether  from  its  old 
life.  Not  until  a  generation  has  passed  through  the  new 
education  can  the  question  be  considered,  as  to  what 
part  of  the  national  education  shall  be  entrusted  to 
the  home. 

1 39.  Setting  that  aside,  and  considering  Pestalozzi's  book 
for  mothers  simply  as  the  first  foundation  of  instruction ; 
to  take,  as  the  book  does,  the  child's  body  as  the  subject 
of  instruction  is  also  a  complete  mistake.  He  starts  with 
the  very  correct  statement,  that  the  first  object  of  the 
child's  knowledge  must  be  the  child  himself.  But  is  the 
child's  body,  then,  the  child  himself?  If  it  must  be  a 
human  body,  would  not  the  mother's  body  be  far  closer 
and  more  visible  to  him  ?  And  how  can  the  child 
obtain  a  perceptual  knowledge  of  his  body,  without  first 
having  learnt  to  use  it  ?  That  information  is  not  know 
ledge,  but  simply  the  learning  by  heart  of  arbitrary 
word-symbols,  brought  about  by  the  over-estimation 
of  speaking.  The  true  foundation  of  instruction  and 
knowledge  wrould  be,  to  use  Pestalozzi's  language,  an 
A  B  C  of  the  sensations.  When  the  child  begins  to 
understand,  and  imperfectly  to  make,  speech  sounds,  he 
should  be  led  to  make  himself  quite  clear,  whether  he  is 
hungry  or  sleepy,  whether  he  sees  or  hears  the  actual 
sensation  denoted  by  this  or  that  expression,  or,  indeed, 
simply  imagines  it.  He  should  be  clear,  too,  as  to  the 
differences  and  degrees  of  difference  of  the  various 
impressions  on  the  same  sense  that  are  denoted  by  special 
words,  e.g.,  the  colours  and  the  sounds  of  different  bodies, 
etc.  All  this  should  take  place  in  succession,  developing 
properly  and  regularly  the  power  of  sensation.  By  this 
means  the  child  first  obtains  an  ego,  which  he  abstracts  in 
free  and  conscious  conception,  and  which  he  scrutinizes 


by  its  aid  ;  as  soon  as  it  awakes  to  life,  a  mental  eye  is 
set  in  life,  and  from  that  time  onward  never  leaves  it. 
Thus,  also,  measure  and  number,  in  themselves  empty 
forms,  obtain  for  the  succeeding  exercises  of  perception 
their  clearly  recognized  inner  content  which,  according 
to  Pestalozzi's  method,  can  be  given  them  only  by 
obscure  tendency  and  compulsion.  In  Pestalozzi's  writ 
ings  a  confession,  which  is  remarkable  from  this  point  of 
view,  is  made  by  one  of  his  teachers  who,  when  initiated 
into  this  method,  began  to  perceive  only  empty  geometrical 
bodies.  This  would  happen  to  all  pupils  of  that  method 
if  spiritual  nature  did  not,  unnoticed,  guard  against  it. 
It  is  at  this  stage,  too,  when  what  is  really  perceived  is 
thus  clearly  grasped,  that  not  language  signs,  indeed,  but 
speech  itself  and  the  need  for  expressing  oneself  to  others 
trains  man,  and  raises  him  out  of  darkness  and  confusion 
to  clearness  and  definiteness.  When  the  child  first  awakes 
to  consciousness,  all  the  impressions  of  surrounding 
nature  immediately  crowd  upon  him  and  are  mingled 
to  a  vague  chaos,  in  which  no  single  thing  stands  out  from 
among  the  general  confusion.  How  is  he  ever  to  emerge 
from  this  stage  of  vagueness  ?  He  needs  the  help  of 
others  ;  he  cannot  get  it  except  by  definitely  expressing 
his  need  and  distinguishing  it  from  similar  needs  which 
are  already  denoted  in  the  language.  Under  the  guidance 
of  those  distinctions  he  is  compelled  to  reflect  and  to 
collect  his  thoughts,  to  notice  what  he  actually  feels,  to 
compare  it  with,  and  differentiate  it  from,  something  else 
which  he  already  knows  but  does  not  at  present  feel. 
Thus  a  conscious  and  free  ego  begins  to  be  separated  off 
in  him.  Now,  education  ought  with  deliberate  and  free 
art  to  continue  the  course  which  necessity  and  nature 
begin  with  us. 

140.   In    the   field   of   objective   knowledge,    which    is 


concerned  with  external  objects,  acquaintance  with 
the  word-sign  adds  absolutely  nothing  to  the  clearness 
and  definiteness  of  the  inner  knowledge  for  the  knower 
himself,  but  simply  brings  it  within  the  sphere  of  what 
can  be  communicated  to  others,  which  is  an  altogether 
different  sphere.  The  clearness  of  that  knowledge 
depends  entirely  on  perception,  and  whatever  man's 
imagination  can  create  again  at  will  in  all  its  parts,  just 
as  it  really  is,  is  fully  known,  whether  one  has  a  word  for 
it  or  not.  Indeed,  we  are  convinced  that  this  perfection 
of  the  perception  should  precede  acquaintance  with  the 
word-symbol.  The  opposite  process  leads  straight  to 
that  world  of  shadow  and  mist,  and  to  premature  loqua 
city,  both  of  which  are  rightly  so  hateful  to  Pestalozzi. 
He  who  wants  to  know  the  word  as  soon  as  possible,  and 
considers  his  knowledge  increased  as  soon  as  he  knows  it, 
lives  in  that  very  world  of  mist  and  is  anxious  merely  to 
extend  it.  Considering  Pestalozzi's  system  of  thought  as 
a  whole,  I  believe  that  it  was  just  this  A  B  C  of  sensation 
that  he  aimed  at  as  the  first  foundation  of  mental  develop 
ment  and  as  the  content  of  his  book  for  mothers.  In  all 
his  statements  about  language  he  had  a  dim  notion  of 
it,  and  it  was  only  lack  of  training  in  philosophy  that 
prevented  him  from  becoming  quite  clear  on  this  point. 

141.  Now,  presupposing  this  development  of  the 
knowing  subject  by  means  of  sensation  and  setting  it  as  the 
first  foundation  of  the  national  education  we  have  in 
view,  Pestalozzi's  A  B  C  of  sense-perception,  the  theory 
of  the  relations  of  number  and  measure,  is  the  entirely 
appropriate  and  excellent  consequence.  With  this  per 
ception  any  part  of  the  world  of  sense  can  be  connected  ; 
it  can  be  introduced  into  the  domain  of  mathematics, 
until  the  pupil  is  sufficiently  trained  by  these  preliminary 
exercises  to  be  led  on  to  the  planning  of  a  social  order  of 


mankind  and  to  love  of  that  order.     This  is  the  second 
and  essential  step  in  his  training. 

142.  But  in  the  first  part  of  education  another  subject, 
which  is  also  mentioned  by  Pestalozzi,  is  not  to  be  over 
looked  ;  the  development  of  the  pupil's  bodily  powers, 
which  must  necessarily  go  hand  in  hand  with  those  of 
the  mind.  He  demands  an  A  B  C  of  Art,  i.e.,  of  the 
bodily  powers.  His  most  striking  statements  about  this 
are  the  following :  l  "  Striking,  carrying,  throwing, 
pushing,  pulling,  turning,  struggling,  swinging,  etc.,  are 
the  simplest  exercises  of  strength.  There  is  a  natural 
sequence  in  these  exercises  from  the  beginnings  to  the 
perfect  art,  i.e.,  to  the  highest  stage  of  the  nerve  rhythm, 
which  ensures  blow  and  push,  swing  and  throw,  in  a 
hundred  different  ways,  and  makes  hand  and  foot  certain." 
In  this,  everything  depends  on  the  natural  sequence, 
and  it  is  not  enough  that  we  should  interfere  in  a  blind 
arbitrary  way  and  introduce  any  kind  of  exercise,  just 
in  order  that  it  may  be  said  of  us  that  we  too,  like  the 
Greeks  perhaps,  have  physical  education.  Now,  everything 
still  remains  to  be  done  in  this  matter,  for  Pestalozzi  has 
supplied  no  A  B  C  of  Art.  This  must  first  of  all  be  sup 
plied,  and  that  certainly  requires  a  man  who  is  versed 
in  the  anatomy  of  the  human  body  and  also  in  scientific 
mechanics,  and  who  combines  with  this  knowledge  a 
high  degree  of  philosophical  spirit.  Such  a  man  will  be 
capable  of  discovering  in  all-round  perfection  that  machine 
which  the  human  body  is  designed  to  be,  and  of  showing 
how  this  machine  may  gradually  be  developed  out  of 
every  healthy  human  body,  so  that  every  advance  occurs 

1  [An  almost  exact  quotation  from  Pestalozzi's  Wie  Gertrud  ihre 
Kinder  lehrt ;  cf.  Pestalozzi's  Ausgewaehlte  Schriften,  ed.  F.  Mann,  Langen- 
salza,  vol.  iii,  p.  275,  and  see  translation  by  Cooke,  Sonnenschein  &  Co., 
1907,  pp.  177,  178.] 


in  the  only  possible  correct  sequence,  thus  preparing  for 
and  facilitating  those  that  follow.  Thereby  the  health 
and  beauty  of  the  body  and  the  strength  of  the  mind 
are  not  only  not  endangered,  but  are  even  confirmed  and 
increased.  It  is  obvious  without  further  mention  how 
indispensable  this  element  is  to  an  education  which  pro 
mises  to  train  the  whole  man  and  is  especially  intended  for 
a  nation  which  shall  restore  again,  and  in  the  future 
maintain,  its  independence. 

We  reserve  for  the  next  address  what  there  is  still  to 
say  by  way  of  further  definition  of  our  conception  of 
German  national  education. 



143.  THE  training  of  the  pupil  to  make  clear  to  himself 
first  his  sensations  and  then  his  perceptions,  which  must 
be  accompanied  by  a  systematic  art  of  training  his  body, 
is  the  first  part  of  the  new  German  national  education. 
In  regard  to  the  education  of  perception,  we  have  a 
suitable  method  from  Pestalozzi.  A  method  for  the 
education  of  the  power  of  sensation  is  still  lacking,  but 
he  and  his  collaborators,  who  have  been  summoned 
chiefly  to  solve  this  problem,  will  be  able  to  furnish  this 
easily.  A  method  for  the  systematic  development  of 
physical  strength  is  still  lacking.  What  is  required  for 
the  solution  of  this  problem  has  been  indicated,  and  it 
is  to  be  hoped  that,  if  the  nation  should  show  any  eager 
ness  for  this  solution,  it  will  be  found.  All  this  part  of 
education  is  but  a  means  and  a  preliminary  exercise  for 
the  second  essential  part,  the  civic  and  religious  education.) 
The  general  remarks  that  it  is  necessary  at  present  to  make 
about  this  have  already  been  mentioned  in  our  second  and 
third  addresses,  and  we  have  nothing  to  add  to  them. 
It  is  the  business  of  that  philosophy  which  proposes  a 
German  national  education  to  furnish  definite  instruc 
tions  for  the  art  of  this  education — always,  of  course, 
taking  into  consideration  and  consultation  Pestalozzi's  own 



art  of  education.  Once  the  need  for  such  instructions 
arises,  through  the  first  part  being  fully  carried  out,  that 
philosophy  will  not  be  slow  to  supply  it.  Every  pupil, 
even  if  born  in  the  lowest  class — for,  in  truth,  the  class 
into  which  children  are  born  makes  no  difference  to  their 
talents — will  grasp,  and  indeed  grasp  easily,  the  instruction 
in  those  subjects.  Such  instruction,  indeed,  comprises, 
if  you  like,  the  most  profound  metaphysics  and  is  the  result 
of  the  most  abstract  speculation,  and  those  subjects  at 
present  even  scholars  and  speculating  brains  find  it 
impossible  to  grasp.  Let  no  one  grow  weary  just  now, 
wondering  how  this  may  be  possible  ;  experience  will 
teach  this  later,  if  only  we  will  obey  in  regard  to  the  first 
steps.  It  is  only  because  our  generation  is  held  captive 
in  the  world  of  empty  ideas  and  has  not  entered  the  world 
of  true  reality  and  perception  at  any  point,  that  it  is  not  to 
be  expected  that  this  generation  should  begin  perception 
with  the  highest  and  most  spiritual  perception  of  all, 
and  when  it  is  already  clever  beyond  measure.  Philo 
sophy  must  require  it  to  give  up  its  present  world  and  to 
provide  itself  with  an  entirely  different  one.  It  is  no 
wonder  if  such  a  demand  proves  unavailing.  But,  from 
the  very  beginning,  the  pupil  of  our  education  has  been 
at  home  in  the  world  of  perception  and  has  never  seen 
any  other.  He  has  not  to  change,  but  only  to  strengthen, 
his  world  ;  and  this  takes  place  of  itself.  This  education 
is,  as  we  have  already  pointed  out,  the  only  possible 
education  for  philosophy  and  also  the  sole  means  of 
making  philosophy  universal. 

144.  Education    ends    with    this    civic    and    religious 
instruction,  and  the  pupil  is  now  to  be  released.     Thus 
we  are  clear  at  any  rate  in  regard  to  the  content  of  the 
proposed  education. 

145.  The  pupil's  faculty  of  knowledge  must  never  be 


stimulated  without  love  for  the  known  object  being  f 
stimulated  at_jJhje_-same—  time,  for  otherwise  knowledge  • 
remains  dead ;  similarly,  love  must  never  be  stimulated 
without  becoming  clear  to  knowledge,  for  otherwise  love 
remains  blind.  This  is  one  of  the  chief  principles  of  our 
proposed  education,  with  which  Pestalozzi  also  must 
agree,  since  it  is  in  accordance  with  his  whole  system  of 
thought.  Now,  the  stimulation  and  development  of  this 
love  is  connected  with  the  systematic  course  of  instruction 
by  means  of  sensation  and  perception,  and  arises  without 
our  design  or  assistance.  The  child  has  a  natural  inclina 
tion  for  clearness  and  order.  This  is  continually  satisfied 
in  that  course  of  instruction,  and  so  fills  the  child  with 
joy  and  pleasure.  But,  while  in  this  state  of  satisfaction, 
he  is  stimulated  again  by  the  new  obscurities  that  now 
appear,  and  so  he  is  satisfied  anew.  Thus  life  is  passed 
in  love  of  and  pleasure  in  learning.  It  is  this  love  by 
means  of  which  each  individual  is  connected  with  the 
world  of  ^thought  ;  it  is  th.e..bQnd_Df_JJie__ .sensuous  and_ 
spiritual  worlds.  This  love  renders  possible  the  easy 
develop menTof  the  faculty  of  knowledge  and  the  success 
ful  cultivation  of  the  fields  of  science  ;  a  result  that  is 
certain  and  premeditated  in  this  education,  but  which 
was  formerly  attained  by  chance  in  the  case  of  a  few 
specially  favoured  persons. 

146.  But  there  is  yet  another  love,  that  which  binds 
man  to  man  and  combines  all  individuals  into  one  rational  • 
community  with  the  same  disposition.  The  first  kind 
of  love  fashions  knowledge ;  this  other  kind  fashions  the 
life  of  action  and  stimulates  people  to  show  forth  in  them 
selves  and  in  others  that  which  has  become  part  of  their 
knowledge.  Since  for  our  special  purpose  it  would  be  of 
little  use  simply  to  improve  the  scholar's  education,  and 
since  the  national  education  intended  by  us  aims  first  of 


all  at  training  not  scholars  but  simply  men,  it  is  clear  that, 
in  addition  to  that  first  love,  the  development  of  the 
second  is  also  an  essential  duty  of  this  education. 

Pestalozzi  speaks  of  this  subject  with  soul-stirring 
enthusiasm.  Yet  we  must  confess  that  his  statements 
did  not  seem  at  all  clear  to  us,  and,  least  of  all,  so  clear 
that  they  could  serve  as  the  foundation  for  an  art  of 
developing  that  love.  It  is  therefore  necessary  for  us  to 
state  our  own  thoughts  concerning  such  a  foundation. 

147.  The   usual   assumption,    that    man   is   by   nature 

selfish,  that  the  child  also  is  born  with  this  selfishness,  and 

that  it  is  education  alone  which  implants  in  him  a  moral 

motive,  is  founded  on  very  superficial  observation,  and 

is  utterly  false.     Nothing  can  be  created  from  nothing, 

and  the  development  of  a  fundamental  instinct,  no  matter 

to  what  extent,  can  never  make  it  the  opposite  of  itself. 

How  then  could  education  ever  implant  morality  in  the 

child,  if  morality  did  not  exist  in  him  originally  and  before 

all  education  ?     It  does,  therefore,  actually  exist  in  all 

V  human  children  that  are  born  into  the  world  ;    the  task 

I  is  simply  to  find  out  the  purest  and  most  primitive  form 

'  in  which  it  appears. 

-'148. "The  results  of  speculative  thought,  as  well  as 
common  observation,  agree  that  the  purest  and  most 
primitive  form  of  morality  is  the  instinct  for  respect, 
and  that  from  this  instinct  there  arises  our  knowledge  of 
what  is  moral  as  the  only  possible  object  of  respect,  the 
right,  the  good,  veracity,  and  the  power  of  self-control. 
In  the  child  this  instinct  appears  first  of  all  as  the  desire 
to  be  respected  by  those  who  inspire  in  him  the  highest 
respect.  This  instinct  goes  to  prove  with  certainty  that 
love  does  not  arise  from  selfishness  at  all,  because  it  is 
directed  as  a  rule  far  more  strongly  and  decisively  towards 
the  sterner  parent,  the  father,  who  is  more  often  absent, 


and  who  does  not  appear  directly  as  a  benefactor,  than 
towards  the  mother,  who  with  her  beneficence  is  ever 
present.  The  child  wants  to  be  noticed  by  him,  wants 
to  have  his  approval  ;  only  in  so  far  as  the  father  is  satis 
fied  with  him  is  he  satisfied  with  himself.  This  is  the 
natural  love  of  the  child  for  the  father,  not  as  the  guardian 
of  his  sensuous  well-being,  but  as  the  mirror,  from  which 
his  own  worth  or  worthlessness  is  reflected  for  him. 
Now,  the  father  himself  can  easily  connect  with  this  love 
obedience  and  every  kind  of  self-denial  ;  for  the  reward 
of  his  hearty  approval  the  child  obeys  with  joy.  Then 
again,  this  is  the  love  which  the  child  longs  for  from  the 
father  ;  that  he  shall  notice  the  child's  effort  to  be  good, 
and  acknowledge  it  ;  that  he  shall  show  that  it  gives  him 
joy  when  he  can  approve,  and  grieves  him  heartily  when 
he  must  disapprove  ;  that  he  desires  nothing  more  than 
always  to  be  able  to  be  satisfied  with  him,  and  all  his 
demands  on  the  child  have  simply  the  intention  of  making 
him  ever  better  and  more  worthy  of  respect.  Again,  the 
sight  of  this  love  continually  animates  and  strengthens  the 
child's  love,  and  gives  him  new  strength  for  all  his  further 
efforts.  On  the  other  hand,  that  love  is  killed  by  being 
disregarded,  and  by  continual  unjust  misunderstanding  ; 
in  particular,  it  produces  even  hate,  if  in  dealing  with  the 
child  one  allows  selfishness  to  appear,  and,  e.g.,  treats  as 
a  capital  crime  some  damage  caused  by  his  carelessness. 
He  then  sees  himself  regarded  as  a  mere  tool,  and  this 
outrages  his  feeling  that  he  must  himself  be  of  worth, 
a  feeling  that  is  dim,  indeed,  but  yet  not  absent. 

149.  To  prove  this  by  an  example.  What  is  it  that 
with  the  child  adds  shame  to  the  pain  of  chastisement, 
and  what  is  this  shame  ?  Obviously  it  is  the  feeling  of 
self-contempt,  which  is  an  inevitable  accompaniment 
when  the  displeasure  of  his  parents  and  educators  is  shown 


to  him.  Therefore,  where  punishment  is  not  accompanied 
by  shame,  there  is  an  end  of  education,  and  the  punishment 
appears  as  an  act  of  violence,  which  the  pupil  proudly 
disregards  and  ridicules. 

150.  The  bond,  therefore,  which  makes  men  of  one 
mind,  and  the  development  of  which  is  a  chief  part  of 
education  for  manhood,  is  not  sensuous  love,  but  the  instinct 
for  mutual  respect.  That  instinct  appears  in  two  forms ; 
in  the  child  it  begins  as  unconditional  respect  for  adults 
and  becomes  the  desire  to  be  respected  by  them,  and  to 
measure  by  means  of  their  actual  respect  how  far  he  also 
should  respect  himself.  This  confidence,  not  in  one's 
own  but  in  an  external  standard  of  self-respect,  is  also  the 
special  characteristic  of  childhood  and  youth.  On  its 
existence  alone  is  based  the  possibility  of  all  instruction 
and  of  all  education  of  growing  youths  to  perfect  men. 
The  adult  has  in  himself  his  standard  of  self-esteem,  and 
wishes  to  be  respected  by  others  only  in  so  far  as  they  have 
first  of  all  made  themselves  worthy  of  his  respect.  With 
him  that  instinct  assumes  the  form  of  demanding  that  he 
shall  be  able  to  respect  others,  and  that  he  shall  himself 
produce  something  worthy  of  respect.  If  there  is  no 
such  fundamental  instinct  in  man,  whence  then  arises  the 
phenomenon,  that  even  the  tolerably  good  man  grieves  to 
find  men  worse  than  he  thought  they  were,  and  is  deeply 
hurt  at  having  to  despise  them  ;  for  selfishness,  on  the  con 
trary,  is  necessarily  pleased  at  being  able  to  exalt  itself 
haughtily  above  others  ?  Now,  the  educator  must 
exhibit  this  latter  characteristic  of  adult  manhood,  just 
as,  in  the  case  of  the  pupil,  the  former  characteristic  is 
to  be  relied  on  with  certainty.  In  this  respect,  the  aim  of 
education  is  just  to  produce  adult  manhood  in  the  sense 
that  we  have  mentioned.  Only  when  that  aim  is  attained 
is  education  really  completed  and  ended.  Hitherto  many 


men  have  remained  children  all  their  lives,  viz.,  those 
who  needed  for  their  satisfaction  the  approval  of  neigh 
bours,  and  believed  they  had  done  nothing  right  unless 
they  pleased  the  latter.  In  contrast  to  these,  strong  robust 
characters  have  been  those  few  who  could  rise  above  the 
judgment  of  others  and  satisfy  themselves.  As  a  rule, 
the  latter  have  been  hated,  while  the  former  were  not, 
indeed,  respected,  but  were,  nevertheless,  considered 

151.  The  foundation  of  all  moral  education  is  this; 
that  one  should  know  there  is  such  an  instinct  in  the  child 
and  presuppose  it  firmly  established  ;  then,  that  one 
should  recognize  it  when  it  appears,  and  gradually  develop 
it  more  and  more  by  suitable  stimulation,  and  by  pre 
senting  to  it  material  for  its  satisfaction.  The  very 
first  principle  is  to  direct  it  to  the  only  object  that  is 
suitable,  viz.,  to  moral  matters,  but  not  to  put  it  off  with 
some  material  that  is  foreign  to  it.  Learning,  for  instance, 
contains  within  itself  its  charm  and  its  reward.  Strenuous 
diligence  could  at  most  deserve  approval  as  an  exercise  in 
self-control ;  but  this  free  and  supererogatory  diligence 
will  scarcely  find  a  place,  at  least  in  the  purely  universal 
national  education.  That  the  pupil  will  learn  what  he 
ought  to  must,  therefore,  be  regarded  as  a  matter  of 
course,  of  which  nothing  more  is  to  be  said.  The  quicker 
and  better  learning  of  the  more  capable  mind  must  be 
regarded  merely  as  a  natural  phenomenon,  which  entitles 
him  to  no  praise  or  distinction,  and  above  all  does  not 
palliate  other  defects.  It  is  in  moral  matters  alone  that 
a  sphere  of  action  ought  to  be  allotted  to  this  instinct ; 
but  the  root  of  all  morality  is  self-possession,  self-control, 
the  subordination  of  the  selfish  instincts  to  the  idea  of 
the  community.  By  this  alone,  and  by  absolutely  nothing 
else,  shall  it  be  possible  for  the  pupil  to  receive  the  educa- 


tor's  approval,  which  he  is  directed  by  his  spiritual 
nature,  and  accustomed  by  education,  to  need  for  his  own 
satisfaction.  As  we  have  already  mentioned  in  our  second 
address,  there  are  two  very  different  ways  of  subordinat 
ing  the  personal  self  to  the  community.  First  of  all, 
that  way  which  absolutely  must  exist  and  can  in  no  wise 
be  omitted  by  anyone,  subordination  to  the  law  of  the 
constitution  which  is  drawn  up  merely  for  the  regulation 
of  the  community.  He  who  does  not  transgress  this  law 
is  not  blamed,  and  that  is  all;  he  does  not,  however,  receive 
approbation.  Similarly,  real  displeasure  and  censure 
would  fall  upon  him  who  transgressed  ;  this  would  take 
place  in  public  if  the  wrong  were,  public,  and  if  it  remained 
ineffective,  it  could  even  be  intensified  by  the  addition 
of  punishment.  Secondly,  there  is  that  subordination 
of  the  individual  to  the  community  which  cannot  be 
demanded  but  can  only  be  given  voluntarily,  viz.,  the 
raising  and  advancing  of  the  well-being  of  the  community 
by  self-sacrifice.  In  order  to  impress  correctly  upon  the 
pupils  from  youth  upwards  the  mutual  relationship  of  mere 
legality  and  this  higher  virtue,  it  will  be  appropriate  to 
allow  him  only,  against  whom  for  a  certain  period  there 
has  been  no  complaint  in  regard  to  legality,  to  make  these 
voluntary  sacrifices  as  the  reward,  so  to  speak,  of  legality, 
but  to  refuse  this  permission  to  him  who  is  not  yet  quite 
sure  of  himself  in  regard  to  regularity  and  order.  The 
objects  of  such  voluntary  acts  have  already  been  pointed 
out  in  general,  and  will  be  indicated  still  more  clearly 
later.  Let  this  kind  of  sacrifice  receive  active  approbation 
and  real  recognition  of  its  merits,  not  in  public  in  the  form 
of  praise,  which  might  corrupt  the  heart,  make  it  vain,  and 
turn  it  from  its  independence,  but  in  secret  and  with  the 
pupil  alone.  This  recognition  ought  to  be  nothing  more 
than  the  outward  expression  of  the  pupil's  own  good 


conscience,  the  ratification  of  his  satisfaction  with  him 
self  and  of  his  self-respect,  and  the  encouragement  to 
rely  still  further  on  himself.  The  following  arrangement 
would  promote  admirably  the  advantages  hereby  intended. 
Where  there  are  several  male  and  female  teachers,  which 
we  assume  will  be  the  rule,  let  each  child  choose  freely, 
and  as  his  feelings  and  confidence  move  him,  one  of  them 
as  a  special  friend  and,  as  it  were,  adviser  in  matters  of 
conscience.  Let  him  seek  his  advice  whenever  it  is  difficult 
for  him  to  do  right.  Let  the  teacher  help  him  by  friendly 
exhortation  ;  let  him  be  the  confidant  of  the  voluntary 
acts  which  he  undertakes  ;  and,  finally,  let  him  be  the 
person  who  crowns  excellence  with  his  approval.  Now, 
through  these  advisers  in  matters  of  conscience  education 
would  inevitably  be  of  systematic  aid  to  each  individual  in 
his  own  rise  to  ever  greater  power  of  self-control  and  self- 
possession.  In  this  way  steadiness  and  independence  will  i 
gradually  arise  ;  with  their  production,  education  comes  I 
to  an  end  and  ceases.  By  our  own  deeds  and  actions  is' 
the  sphere  of  the  moral  world  most  clearly  opened  to  us ; 
when  it  is  thus  opened  to  anyone,  it  is  in  truth  opened  to 
him.  Such  a  person  himself  now  knows  what  is  contained 
in  the  moral  world,  and  no  longer  needs  the  testimony  of 
others  concerning  himself  ;  he  can  sit  properly  in  judg 
ment  on  himself,  and  is  from  now  onwards  an  adult. 

152.  By  means  of  what  has  just  been  said  we  have 
closed  a  gap  that  remained  in  our  previous  lecture  and  have, 
for  the  first  time,  made  our  proposal  really  practicable. 
Pleasure  in  the  right  and  good  for  its  own  sake  ought  to 
be  set,  by  means  of  the  new  education,  in  the  place  of  the 
material  hope  or  fear  that  has  been  employed  hitherto  ; 
this  pleasure,  as  the  sole  existing  motive,  ought  to  set  all 
future  life  in  motion  ;  this  is  the  essential  feature  of  our 
proposal.  But  the  first  question  that  arises  here  is  this  ; 



how,  then,  is  this  pleasure  itself  to  be  created  ?  Created, 
indeed,  in  the  proper  sense  of  the  word,  it  cannot  be, 
for  men  cannot  make  something  out  of  nothing.  If  our 
proposal  is  to  be  practicable  at  all,  this  pleasure  must 
exist  originally,  and  be  simply  present  and  innate  in  all 

I  men  without  exception.  And  in  fact  it  is  so.  Every  child 
without  exception  wishes  to  be  upright  and  good,  and 

i  does  not  want  merely  to  be  healthy,  like  a  young  animal. 
Love  is  the  essential  element  in  man  ;  it  exists,  as  man 
exists,  whole  and  complete,  and  nothing  can  be  added  to  it, 
for  it  transcends  the  growing  phenomenon  of  the  sensuous 
life,  and  is  independent  of  it.  It  is  knowledge  alone  to 
which  this  sensuous  life  is  connected,  and  which  begins 
and  develops  with  it.  This  development  is  but  slow  and 
gradual  with  the  progress  of  time  ;  how,  then,  is  that 
innate  love  to  pass  through  the  years  of  ignorance,  and 
develop  and  exercise  itself  until  an  ordered  system  of  ideas 
of  right  and  wrong  is  formed,  to  which  the  motive  of  plea 
sure  can  be  connected  ?  Wise  nature  has  removed  the 
difficulty  without  any  assistance  from  us.  Consciousness, 
starting  from  within  the  child,  presents  itself  to  him 
outwardly,  embodied  in  the  judgment  of  the  adult 
world.  Until  a  rational  judge  is  developed  in  him,  he 
is  referred  to  this  world  by  a  natural  instinct,  and  thus 
a  conscience  is  given  him  outside  himself,  until  one  is 
produced  within  him.  The  new  education  ought  to 
recognize  this  truth,  but  little  known  until  now,  and  guide 
towards  what  is  right  the  love  that  exists  independent 
of  education.  Up  to  now,  this  simplicity  and  childlike 
faith  of  the  young  in  the  higher  perfection  of  adults  has 
been  used,  as  a  rule,  for  their  corruption.  It  was  pre 
cisely  their  innocence  and  their  natural  faith  in  us  that 
made  it  possible  for  us,  before  they  could  distinguish 
good  from  evil,  to  implant  in  them,  instead  of  the  good 


that  they  inwardly  wished,  our  own  corruption,  which 
they  would  have  abhorred  if  they  had  been  able  to 
recognize  it. 

153.  This,  I  say,  is  the  very  greatest  transgression  of 
which  our  age  is  guilty,  and  this  also  explains  a  phenomenon 
of  daily  occurrence  ;    that,   as  a  rule,  man  becomes  so 
much   the  worse,   more   selfish,   more   dead   to   all  good 
impulses,  and  more  unfit  for  any  good  deed,  the  older 
he  gets  and  the  farther  he  has  gone  from  the  early  days    , 
of    his   innocence — days    which    even  yet   echo,   though 
faintly,  in  some  intimations  of  the  Good.     It  also  proves 
that   the  present  generation,   if  it   does   not   completely 
isolate  its  successors,  will  inevitably  leave  behind  an  even 
more  corrupt  posterity,   and  this,   again,  one  still  more 
corrupt.     An  honoured  teacher  of  the  human  race  says 
of  them  with  striking  truth,  that  it  were  better  that  a 
millstone  were  hanged  at  once  about  their  neck,  and  they 
were  drowned  in  the  depths  of  the  sea.     It  is  an  absurd 
slander  on  human  nature  to  say  that  man  is  born  a  sinner. 
If  that  were  true,  how,  then,  could  there  ever  come  to  him 
an  idea  of  sin,  which,  indeed,  is  possible  only  in  contrast 
with  what  is  not  sin  ?     His  life  makes  him  a  sinner,  and 
human  life  hitherto  was  usually  a  progressive  development 
in  sinfulness. 

154.  What  has   been  said  shows  in   a   new  light   the 
necessity  of  making  preparation  without  delay  for  a  real 
education.     If  only  the  youths  of  the  future  could  grow 
up  without  any  contact  with  adults  and  entirely  without 
education,  one  might  always  test  what  the  result  would  be. 
But   even   if  we   only   leave   them   in   our  society,   their 
education  takes  place  of  itself  without  any  wish  or  will 
of  ours.     They  educate  themselves  to  us  ;    to  be  like  us, 
that   forces   itself   upon    them    as    their   pattern.     They 
emulate  us,  even  without  our  requiring  this,  and  desire 


nothing  more  than  ,  to  become  just  as  we  are.  Now, 
usually  the  great  majority  of  us  are  thoroughly  perverse, 
partly  without  knowing  it ;  and  because  we  are  ourselves 
just  as  simple  as  children,  we  consider  our  perversity  to 
be  what  is  right.  Even  if  we  knew  that  we  were  perverse, 
how  could  we  suddenly  lay  aside,  in  the  presence  of  our 
children,  that  which  a  long  life  has  made  second  nature 
to  us,  and  exchange  our  whole  former  disposition  and 
spirit  for  a  new  one  ?  In  contact  with  us  they  must 
become  corrupt ;  that  is  unavoidable.  If  we  have  a 
spark  of  love  for  them,  we  must  remove  them  from  our 
tainted  atmosphere  and  erect  a  purer  abode  for  them. 
We  must  bring  them  into  the  society  of  men  who, 
whatever  they  may  be  in  other  respects,  have  at  least, 
by  continuous  practice,  become  accustomed,  and  gained 
the  ability,  to  remember  that  children  are  watching  them, 
the  power  of  restraining  themselves  at  least  for  so  long, 
and  the  knowledge  of  how  one  must  appear  before 
children.  We  must  not  let  them  out  of  this  society  into 
ours  again,  until  they  have  learnt  to  detest  thoroughly 
all  our  corruption,  and  are  thereby  completely  safe  from 
all  infection. 

These  are  the  points  that  we  have  considered  it  neces 
sary  to  bring  forward  here  concerning  moral  education 
in  general. 

155.  That  the  children  ought  to  live  together  in  com 
plete  isolation  from  adults,  with  only  their  teachers  and 
masters,  has  been  mentioned  several  times.  It  is  under 
stood,  without  special  note  from  us,  that  this  education 
must  be  given  to  both  sexes  in  the  same  way.  A  separa 
tion  of  the  sexes  into  special  institutions  for  boys  and 
girls  would  not  suit  our  purpose,  and  would  break  several 
important  principles  of  the  education  for  perfect  manhood. 
The  subjects  of  instruction  are  the  same  for  both  sexes  ; 


the  difference  in  the  manual  tasks  can  easily  be  maintained, 
even  while  the  rest  of  the  education  is  common.  Like 
the  larger  society  which  they  are  to  enter  some  day  as 
perfect  human  beings,  the  smaller  society  in  which  they 
are  trained  for  manhood  must  consist  of  a  combination 
of  both  sexes.  Both  must  first  of  all  recognize  and 
learn  to  love  in  one  another  their  common  humanity,  and 
must  have  male  and  female  friends,  before  their  attention 
is  directed  to  sex  distinction  and  they  become  husbands 
and  wives.  Also,  the  general  relationship  of  the  two 
sexes  to  each  other,  stout-hearted  protection  on  the  one 
side  and  loving  help  on  the  other,  must  appear  in  the 
educational  institution  and  be  fostered  in  the  pupils. 

156.  If  our  proposal  should  come  to  be  realized,  the 
first  business  would  be  to  frame  a  law  for  the  internal 
organization   of   these   educational   institutions.     If   the 
fundamental  principle  we  have  put  forward  once  becomes 
thoroughly  established,  this  is  a  very  easy  task,  and  we  do 
not  intend  to  lose  time  over  it  here. 

157.  It  is  a  principal  requirement  of  this  new  national 
education  that  in  it  learning  and  working  shall  be  com 
bined,  that  the  institution  shall  appear,  to  the  pupils  at 
least,  to  be  self-supporting,  and  that  everyone  shall  be 
reminded  to  contribute  to  this  aim  with  all  his  strength. 
This  is  in  any  case  directly  required  by  the  problem  of 
education  as  such,  quite  apart  from  the  purpose  of  outward 
practicability  and  of  economy,  which  will  undoubtedly 
be  expected  of  our  proposal.     One  reason  is  that  all  who 
get   through   only   the   universal  national  education  are 
intended  for  the  working  classes,  and  training  them  to 
be  good  workmen  is  undoubtedly  part  of  their  education. 
The  special  reason,  however,  is  that  a  man's  well-founded 
confidence  that  he  will  always  be  able  to  get  on  in  the  world 
by  his  own  strength,  and  that  he  requires  for  maintenance 


no  charity  from  others,  is  part  of  man's  personal  independ 
ence,  and  conditions  moral  independence  much  more 
than  seems  to  be  believed  at  present.  This  training  would 
supply  another  part  of  education,  which  one  might  call 
education  in  the  proper  management  of  one's  resources, 
which  hitherto  has  also  usually  been  left  to  blind  chance. 
This  part  of  education  must  be  considered,  not  from 
the  paltry  and  narrow  point  of  view  of  saving  for  the  sake 
of  saving,  which  some  ridicule  with  the  name  of  economy, 
but  from  the  higher  moral  standpoint.  Our  age  often 
lays  down  as  a  principle  beyond  all  contradiction  that  one 
must  flatter,  cringe,  and  be  everyone's  lackey,  if  one  wishes 
to  live,  and  that  no  other  way  will  do.  Our  age  does  not 
reflect  that,  even  if  one  should  wish  to  spare  it  the 
counter-proposition  (which  may  sound  heroic,  but  is 
absolutely  true),  namely  that,  if  such  is  the  case,  it  ought 
not  to  go  on  living  but  ought  to  die,  there  yet  remains  the 
remark  that  our  age  ought  to  have  learnt  to  live  with 
honour.  Let  anyone  fully  inquire  who  are  the  persons 
conspicuous  for  dishonourable  behaviour  ;  he  will  always 
find  that  they  have  not  learnt  to  work,  or  that  they  are 
afraid  of  work,  and,  moreover,  manage  things  badly. 
The  pupil  of  our  education  ought,  therefore,  to  be  made 
accustomed  to  work,  in  order  that  he  may  be  raised 
above  the  temptation  to  dishonesty  in  his  struggle  for  a 
living.  It  ought  to  be  impressed  deeply  on  his  mind  as 
the  very  first  principle  of  honour,  that  it  is  shameful  to 
be  willing  to  owe  his  means  of  existence  to  anything  but 
his  own  work. 

158.  Pestalozzi  wishes  all  kinds  of  manual  work  to  be 
carried  on  together  with  learning.  We  do  not  wish  to 
deny  the  possibility  of  this  combination  under  the  con 
dition  mentioned  by  him,  that  the  child  is  already 
thoroughly  skilled  in  manual  work  ;  yet  this  proposal  seems 


to  us  to  arise  from  the  paltriness  of  the  original  aim.  In 
my  opinion,  instruction  must  be  represented  as  so  sacred 
and  honourable  that  it  requires  the  whole  attention  and 
concentration,  and  cannot  be  received  along  with  some 
thing  else.  If  such  manual  work  as  knitting,  spinning, 
etc.,  is  to  be  carried  on  during  working  hours  in  seasons 
which  in  any  case  keep  the  pupils  indoors,  it  will  be  very 
useful  to  combine  with  it  collective  mental  exercises  under 
supervision,  in  order  that  the  mind  may  remain  active. 
But  in  this  case  the  work  is  the  important  thing,  and  these 
exercises  are  to  be  regarded,  not  as  instruction,  but  merely 
as  recreation. 

159.  In  general,  all  manual  work  of  this  inferior  kind 
must  be  put  forward  only  as  incidental,  and  not  as  essen 
tial.  The  essential  manual  work  is  the  practice  of  agri 
culture,  gardening,  cattle  rearing,  and  those,  trades  which 
they  need  in  their  little  State.  Of  course,  the  partici 
pation  in  these  that  is  expected  of  anyone  is  to  be  pro 
portional  to  the  physical  strength  of  his  age  ;  the  rest  of 
the  energy  is  to  be  supplied  by  machines  and  tools  that 
will  be  invented.  Here  the  chief  consideration  is  that, 
so  far  as  possible,  the  pupils  must  understand  the  prin 
ciples  of  what  they  do,  and  that  they  have  already  received 
the  information  necessary  for  their  occupations  concern 
ing  the  growing  of  plants,  the  characteristics  and  needs 
of  the  animal  body,  and  the  laws  of  mechanics.  In  this 
way  their  education  becomes  a  kind  of  course  of  instruc 
tion  in  the  occupations  which  they  have  to  follow  in  the 
future,  and  the  thoughtful  and  intelligent  farmer  is 
trained  by  direct  perception.  Further,  their  mechanical 
work  is  even  at  this  stage  ennobled  and  made  intellectual ; 
it  is  just  as  much  a  verification  from  direct  perception  of 
what  they  have  grasped  in  their  minds,  as  it  is  work  for 
a  living.  Even  though  associated  with  the  animal  and 


with  the  clod,  they  do  not  sink  to  the  level  of  these,  but 
remain  within  the  sphere  of  the  spiritual  world. 

1 60.  Let  it  be  the  fundamental  law  of  this  little  economic 
State  that  no  article  of  food,  clothing,  etc.,  and,  so  far 
as  this  is  possible,  no  tool  is  to  be  used,  which  is  not 
produced  and  made  there.     If  this  housekeeping  requires 
support  from  outside,  natural  objects  should  be  supplied, 
but  none  of  any  other  kind  than  those  it  possesses.     This 
must  be  done  without  the  pupils  learning  that  their  own 
products  have  been  increased  ;    or,  if  it  is  appropriate 
that  they  should  be  told,  they  should  receive  the  supply 
simply  as  a  loan  and  return  it  at  a  fixed  time.     Now,  for 
this  independence  and  self-sufficiency  of  the  community 
every  individual  should  work  with  all  his  might,  without 
making  a  statement  of  account  with  it  or  claiming  anything 
for  his  own  property.     Everyone  should  know  that  he  is 
indebted  absolutely  to  the  community,  and  should  eat  or 
starve  along  with  the  community.      Thereby  the  hon 
ourable  independence  of   the  State  and   of  the   family, 
which  he  is  to  enter  some  day,  and  the  relationship  of 
their  individual   members  to   them,   is   disclosed   to   his 
vivid  observation  and  rooted  ineradicably  in  his  heart. 

161.  This   training  to   mechanical  work  is   the  point 
at  which  the  education  of  the  scholar,  which  is  a  part  of, 
and  rests  upon,  the  universal  national  education,  diverges 
from  the  latter.     The  scholar's  education,  which  is  now 
to  be  discussed,  is,  I  said,  part  of  the  universal  national 
education.     I  offer  no  opinion  as  to  whether  in  the  future 
everyone  who  believes  he  has  sufficient  ability  to  study 
or  ranks  himself  for  any  reason  with  the  higher- classes  of 
former  days  will  not  still  be  free  to  take  the  old  path  of 
scholarly  education.     If  we  should  once  get  our  national 
education,   experience   will   show  how   the   majority   of 
those  scholars  will  fare,  with  their  purchased  learning, 


against,  I  will  not  say  the  scholar  trained  in  the  new 
school,  but  even  against  the  ordinary  man  produced  by  it. 
However,  I  want  to  speak  now,  not  of  that,  but  of  the 
scholar's  education  according  to  the  new  method. 

According  to  its  principles,  the  future  scholar,  too,  must 
have  gone  through  the  universal  national  education  and 
have  received  completely  and  clearly  its  first  part,  the 
development  of  knowledge  by  sensation,  perception,  and 
whatever  is  connected  with  the  latter.  Permission  to 
take  up  this  profession  can  be  granted  by  the  new  national 
education  only  to  the  boy  who  shows  an  excellent  gift 
for  learning  and  a  conspicuous  inclination  for  the  world 
of  ideas.  It  must,  however,  grant  this  permission  to 
every  boy  who  shows  these  qualities,  without  exception 
and  without  regard  to  so-called  difference  of  birth. 
For  a  man  is  not  a  scholar  for  his  own  convenience  ; 
every^_talent  of  that  kind  is  a  preciou^_£ossession  of  the 
nation,  and  may  not  be  taken  from  it. 

162.  The^person  who  is  not  a  scholar  is  destined  to 
maintain  the  human  race  at  the  stage  of  culture  it  has 
reached,  the  scholar  to  advance  it  further  according  to 
a  clear  conception  and  with  deliberate  art.  The  scholar 
with  his  conception  must  always  be  in  advance  of  the 
present  age,  must  understand  the  future,  and  be  able  to 
implant  it  in  the  present  for  its  future  development.  For 
this  purpose  he  needs  a  clear  survey  of  the  previous 
condition  of  the  world,  unlimited  skill  in  pure  thought 
independent  of  phenomena,  and,  in  order  that  he  may  be 
able  to  communicate  his  thoughts,  control  of  language 
down  to  its  living  and  creative  root.  All  this  necessitates 
mental  self-activity,  without  guidance  from  others,  and 
solitary  reflection,  in  which,  therefore,  the  future  scholar 
must  be  exercised  from  the  moment  his  profession  is 
decided  ;  it  does  not  mean,  as  in  the  case  of  the  person 


who  is  not  a  scholar,  merely  thinking  under  the  eye  of  an 
ever-present  teacher  ;  it  necessitates  a  great  amount  of 
subsidiary  knowledge,  which  is  quite  useless  in  his  voca 
tion  to  the  person  who  is*  not  a  scholar.  This  solitary 
reflection  will  be  the  scholar's  work,  the  daily  occupation 
of  his  life.  He  is  to  be  trained  at  once  for  this  work, 
but  in  return  he  is  to  be  exempted  from  the  other  mechani 
cal  toil.  The  education  of  the  future  scholar  for  manhood 
will,  therefore,  as  formerly,  proceed  in  general  simultan 
eously  with  the  universal  national  education,  and  along 
with  all  the  others  he  will  attend  the  instruction  it  supplies. 
Only  those  hours  which  the  others  spend  in  manual  work 
will  be  devoted  to  the  study  of  whatever  his  future 
profession  specifically  demands  ;  this  will  be  the  only 
difference.  The  general  knowledge  of  agriculture,  of 
other  mechanical  arts,  and  of  their  particular  methods, 
which  is  to  be  expected  of  every  man,  the  scholar  will 
undoubtedly  have  learnt  already  while  passing  through 
the  first  class  ;  if  he  has  not,  he  will  have  to  acquire  that 
knowledge  afterwards.  It  is  obvious  that  he  is  the  last 
pupil  of  all  to  be  exempted  from  the  physical  exercises 
that  are  prescribed.  To  give  an  account  of  the  particular 
subjects  which  a  scholar's  education  would  include,  or 
the  course  to  be  followed  in  them,  is,  however,  beyond 
the  scope  of  these  addresses. 



163.  THE  scheme  for  the  new  German  national  education 
has  been  stated  sufficiently  for  our  purpose.  The  next 
question,  which  is  now  urgent,  is  this  :  who  ought  to 
place  himself  at  the  head  to  carry  out  this  scheme,  who  is 
to  be  relied  on,  and  on  whom  have  we  relied  ? 

We  have  represented  this  ^ducation  as  the  highest  and, 
at  present,  the  only  urggn^_^°j^gern  of  German  love  of 
fatherland,  and  wish  to  make  it  first  and  foremost  the 
means  of  bringing  into  the  world  the  improvement  and 
regeneration  of  the  whole  human  race.  But  that  love 
of  fatherland  ought  above  all  to  inspire  the  German 
State,  wherever  Germans  are  governed,  and  take  the-lead, 
and  be  the  motive  power  in  all  its  decisions.  It  is  the 
State,  therefore,  to  which  we  shall  first  of  all  have  to 
turn  our  expectant  gaze. 

Will  it  realize  our  hopes  ?  After  what  has  already 
been  said,  what  can  we  expect  of  it,  looking,  as  is  always 
understood,  at  no  particular  State,  but  at  Germany  as 
a  whole  ? 

164.  In  modern  Europe  educatior!  actually  originated, 
not  with  the  State,  but  with  that  power  from  which 
States,  too,  for  the  most  part  obtained  their  power — 
from  the  heavenly  spiritual  kingdom  of  the  Church. 



The  Church  considered  itself  not  so  much  a  part  of  the 
earthly  community  as  a  colony  from  heaven  quite  foreign 
to  the  earthly  community  and  sent  out  to  enrol  citizens 
for  that  foreign  State,  wherever  it  could  take  root.  Its 
education  aimed  at  nothing  else  but  that  men  should  not 
be  damned  in  the  other  world  but  saved.  The  Refor 
mation  merely  united  this  ecclesiastical  power,  which 
otherwise  continued  to  regard  itself  as  before,  to  the 
temporal  power,  with  which  formerly  it  had  very  often 
been  actually  in  conflict.  In  that  connection,  this  was  ^ 
the  only  difference  that  resulted  from  that  event  ;  there  / 
also  remained,  therefore,  the  old  view  of  educational 
matters.  Even  in  recent  times,  and  until  the  present 
day,  the  education  of  the  richer  classes  has  been  looked 
upon  as  the  private  concern  of  the  parents,  who  might 
arrange  it  to  their  own  satisfaction  ;  and  their  children 
were  usually  put  to  school  simply  because  some  day  it 
would  be  useful  to  them.  The  sole  public  education, 
that  of  the  people,  however,  was  simply  education  for 
salvation  in  heaven  ;  the  essential  feature  was  a  little 
Christianity  and  reading,  with  writing  if  it  could  be 
managed — all  for  the  sake  of  Christianity.  All  other 
development  of  man  was  left  to  the  blind  and  casual 
influence  of  the  society  in  which  they  grew  up,  and  to 
actual  life.  Even  the  institutions  for  scholarly  education 
were  intended  mainly  for  the  training  of  ecclesiastics. 
Theology  was  the  important  faculty  ;  the  others  were 
merely  supplementary  to  it,  and  usually  received  only 
its  leavings. 

165.  So  long  as  those  who  stood  at  the  head  of  the 
Government  remairfed  in  the  dark  concerning  its  true 
aim  and  were  filled  with  that  anxiety  of  conscience  about 
the  salvation  of  themselves  and  others,  one  could  rely 
with  certainty  on  their  zeal  for  this  kind  of  public  educa- 


tion  and  on  their  earnest  efforts  in  its  behalf.  But,  as 
soon  as  they  were  clear  about  the  true  aim  of  government 
and  understood  that  the  sphere  of  the  State's  action  lies 
within  the  visible  world,  it  must  have  been  evident  to 
them  that  anxiety  about  the  eternal  salvation  of  their 
subjects  could  be  no  concern  of  theirs,  and  that  anyone 
who  wanted  to  be  saved  there  should  see  to  it  himself. 
From  that  time  onwards  they  considered  they  were  doing 
enough,  if  for  the  future  they  left  to  their  original 
destiny  the  foundations  and  institutions  that  had  origi 
nated  in  more  pious  ages.  However  unsuitable  and 
insufficient  they  might  be  for  totally  changed  times, 
they  considered  they  were  neither  obliged  to  contribute 
to  them  by  saving  on  their  other  aims,  nor  justified 
in  interfering  actively  and  setting  useful  innovations  in 
the  place  of  antiquated  and  useless  things.  To  all  pro 
posals  of  this  kind  the  ever-ready  answer  was  :  the  State 
has  no  money  for  that.  If  an  exception  were  ever  made, 
it  was  to  the  advantage  of  the  institutions  for  higher 
education,  which  shed  splendour  far  and  wide,  and  pro 
cured  fame  for  their  patrons.  But  the  education  of 
that  class  which  is  the  real  foundation  of  the  human  race, 
by  which  the  higher  culture  is  ever  restored,  and  on  which 
that  culture  must  continually  react — the  education  of 
the  people  remained  neglected  and,  from  the  Reforma-  ' 
tion  down  to  the  present  day,  has  been  in  a  state  of 
increasing  decay. 

1 66.  Now,  if  for  the  future,  and  from  this  very  hour, 
we  are  to  be  able  to  hope  better  things  in  this  matter 
from  the  State,  it  wijil  have jto  exchange  what  seems  to 
have  been  up  to  the  present  its  fundamental  conception  \ 
of  th.e  aim  of  education  for  an  entirely  different  one.  ! 
It  must  see  that  it  was  quite  right  before  to  refuse  to  be 
anxious  about  the  eternal  salvation  of  its  citizens,  because 


no  s^ecia^  training  is  required  for  such  salvation,  and 
that  a  nursery  for  heaven,  like  the  Church,  whose  power 
has  at  last  been  handed  over  to  the  State,  should  not  be 
permitted,  for  it  only  obstructs  all  good  education,  and 
must  be  dispensed  with.  On  the  other  hand,_the  State 

/  must  see  that  education  for  ;  Jife__on  earth  is  very  greatly 

/  needed  ";  from  such  a  thorough  education,  training  for 
/  heaven  follows  as  an  easy  supplement.  The  more 
L  enlightened  the  State  thought  it  was  before,  the  more 
firmly  it  seems  to  have  believed  that  it  could  attain  its 
true  aim  merely  by  means  of  coercive  institutions,  and 
without  any  religion  and  morality  in  its  citizens,  who 
might  do  as  they  liked  in  regard  to  such  matters.  May 
it  have  learnt  this  at  least  from  recent  experiences  —  that 
it  cannot  do  so,  and  that  it  has  got  into  its  present  con 
dition  just  because  of  the  want  of  religion  and  morality  ! 
167.  As  for  the  State's  doubt  whether  it  can  meet  the 
cost  of  a  national  education,  would  that  one  could  con 
vince  it  that  by  this  one  expenditure  it  will.  provide  for 
most  of  the  others  in  the  most  economical  way,  and  that, 
if  only  it  undertakes  this,  it  will  soon  have  no  other  big 
expenditure  to  make  !  U^r^tp^jthe^^resent,  by  far  the 
largest  part  of  the  State's  income  has  been  spent  on  the 
maintenance  of  standing  armies.  We  have  seen  the 
result  of  that  expenditure  ;  that  is  sufficient  ;  it  is 
beyond  our  plan  to  go  more  deeply  into  the  special 
reasons  for  that  result,  which  lie  in  the  organization  of 

7*-those  armies.  On  the  other  hand,  the  State  which 
introduced  universally  the  national  education  proposed 
by  us,  from  the  moment  that  a  new  generation  of  youths 
had  passed  through  it,  would  need  no  special  army  at 

•?~all,  but  would  have  in  them  an  army  such  as  no  age  has 
seen.  Each  individual  is  exercised  thoroughly  in 
every  possible  use  of  his  physical  powers,  and  under- 


stands  them  at  once,  being  accustomed  to  bear  every  effort 
and  hardship  ;  his  mind,  developed  in  direct  perception^ 
is  ever  alert  and  self-possessed  ;  in  his  heart  there  lives 
love  of  the  community  of  which  he  is  a  member,  of  the 
State,  and  of  his  country,  and  this  love  destroys  every 
other  selfish  impulse.  The  State  can  summon  them  and 
put  them  under  arms  when  it  will,  and  can  be  sure  that 
no  enemy  will  defeat  them.  Formerly,  another  source' 
of  concern  and  expenditure  in  wisely  governed  States 
was  improvement  in  the  management  of  the  State's 
resources  in  its  widest  sense  and  in  all  its  branches.  In 
this,  owing  to  the  ignorance  and  helplessness  of  the  lower 
classes,  much  care  and  money  were  spent  in  vain,  and  the 
matter  has  everywhere  made  but  little  progress.  By 
means^of  our  education  the  State  will  get  working- 
classes  accustomed  from  their  youth  up  to  thinking  about 
their  business,  and  already  able  and  inclined  to  help  them 
selves.  Now  if,  in  addition,  the  State  can  help  them  in 
a  suitable  way,  they  will  understand  in  a  moment,  and 
accept  its  instruction  very  gratefully.  All  branches 
of  the  State's  economy  will  in  a  short  time  attain,  without 
much  difficulty,  a  prosperity  which  no  age  has  yet  seen  ; 
and  the  State's  original  expenditure  will  be  repaid  a 
thousandfold,  if  it  cares  to  reckon  up  and  if  by  that  time 
it  has  learnt  the  true  fundamental  value  of  things. 


Hitherto  the  State  has  had  to  do  a  great  deal,  and  yet  has 
never  been  able  to  do  enough,  for  law  and  police  institu 
tions.  Convict_.prispris  and  refpj_matjories  have  caused 
it  expense.  Finally,  the  more  that  was  spent  on  poor- 
houses,  the  more  they  required  ;  indeed,  under  the 
prevailing  circumstances,  they  seemed  to  be  institutions 
for  making  people  poor.  In  a  State  which  makes  the 
new  education  universal,  the  former  wiH~"bF  greatly 
reduced,  the  latter  will  vanish  entirely.  Early  discipline' 


is  a  guarantee  against  the  need  in  later  years  of  reforma 
tion    and    penal    discipline,    which    are    very    doubtful 

,    measures,  while  in  a  nation  so  trained  there  are  no  poor 

I  at  all- 

1 68.  May  the  State  and  all  its  advisers  dare  to  look  its 
true  present  position  in  the  face  and  acknowledge  it  ! 
May  it  realize  vividly  that,  apart  from  the  education  of 
the  succeeding  generations,  there  remains  absolutely  no 
sphere,  in  which  it  can  act  originally  and  independently 
like  a  real  State,  and  make  decisions  !  May  it  see  that, 
if  it  does  not  want  to  do  nothing  at  all,  there  is  but  this 
that  it  can  still  do,  and  may  it  realize,  too,  that  no  one 
will  envy  or  detract  from  the  merit  of  this  service  !  The 
fact  that  we  can  nc^  longer  make  active  resistance  has 
already  been  postulated  by  us  as  obvious,  and  is  admitted 
by  everyone.  Now,  how  can  we  justify  the  continuance 
of  our  forfeited  existence  against  the  reproach  of  cow 
ardice  and  of  an  unworthy  love  of  life  ?  In  no  other  way 
than  by  deciding  not  to  live  for  ourselves,  and  by  proving 
this  in  action  ;  by  being  willing  to  make  ourselves  the 
seed  of  a  more  worthy  posterity  and,  for  its  sake  alone, 
to  maintain  ourselves  until  we  have  set  it  up.  Deprived 
of  that  chief  aim  in  life,  what  can  we  do  ?  Our  constitu 
tions  will  be  made  for  us  ;  our  alliances  and  the  employ 
ment  of  our  fighting  forces  will  be  prescribed  to  us  ; 
a  code  of  law  will  be  given  to  us  ;  even  justice  and  judg 
ment  and  their  administration  will  sometimes  be  taken 
from  us.  For  the  immediate  future  we  shall  be  spared 
the  trouble  of  these  matters.  It  is  only  of  education 
that  no  one  has  thought  ;  if  we  are  looking  for  an  occu 
pation,  let  us  seize  this!  Wgjnay__expect  to  be  left  in  it 
undisturbed.  I  hope — perhaps  I  deceive  myself  in 
this,  but  as  I  care  to  live  only  for  that  hope,  I  cannot 
give  up  hoping — I  hope  that  I  shall  convince  some 


Germans,  and  get  them  to  see  that  it  is  education  alone 
that  can  save  us  from  all  the  ills  that  oppress  us.  I 
rely  especially  on  necessity  having  made  us  more  inclined 
to  attention  and  to  serious  reflection.  Other  countries 
have  other  consolations  and  other  resources  ;  it  is  not 
to  be  expected  that  they  will  give  any  attention  to  the 
thought  of  education,  or  have  any  faith  in  it,  should  it 
ever  occur  to  them.  I  hope  rather  that  it  will  be  a  rich 
source  of  amusement  to  the  readers  of  their  papers,  when 
they  learn  that  anyone  expects  such  great  things  from 

169.  May  the  State  and  its  advisers  not  let  themselves 
become  more  loath  to  take  up  this  task  by  the  considera 
tion  that  the  result  hoped  for  is  remote  !  If  among  the 
numerous  and  highly  complicated  reasons  for  our  present 
fate  one  wanted  to  single  out  that  for  which  our  govern 
ments  alone  are  peculiarly  to  blame,  it  would  be  found 
that,  although  they  above  all  others  are  bound  to  look 
the  future  in  the  face  and  master  it,  they  have  never 
tried,  in  spite  of  the  urgency  of  the  great  events  of  their 
time,  to  do  more  than  get  out  of  the  difficulty  of  the 
immediate  moment  as  well  as  they  could.  In  regard  to 
the  future,  however,  they  have  reckoned,  not  on  their 
present  age,  but  on  some  piece  of  good  luck  which  should 
sever  the  fixed  chain  of  cause  and  effect.  But  such  hopes 
are  deceptive.  A  motive  power  which  is  once  allowed 
to  enter  the  flow  of  time  continues  and  completes  its 
course  ;  once  the  first  careless  act  has  been  committed, 
belated  reflection  cannot  arrest  it.  Our  fate  has  for  the 
moment  removed  from  us  the  possibility  of  making  the 
first  mistake,  that  of  providing  merely  for  the  present  ; 
the  present  is  no  longer  ours.  Let  us  not  repeat  the 
second,  that  of  hoping  for  a  better  future  from  anything 
but  ourselves.  Indeed,  the  present  can  afford  no  con- 


solation  for  the  duty  to  live  to  any  one  of  us  who  requires 
for  life  something  more  than  food  ;  the  hope  of  a  better 
future  is  the  only  atmosphere  in  which  we  can  still 
breathe.  But  only  the  dreamer  can  base  this  hope  on 
anything  but  what  he  himself  can  plant  in  the  present 
for  the  development  of  a  future.  Let  those  who  rule 
over  us  permit  us  to  think  as  well  of  them  as  we  do  of 
each  other,  and  as  the  better  man  feels  !  Let  them  put 
themselves  at  the  head  of  the  business  that  is  to  us,  too, 
quite  clear,  so  that  we  may  yet  see  arising  before  our 
eyes  that  which  will  some  day  wipe  from  our  memory 
the  shame  that  has  been  done  to  the  German  name  before 
our  eyes  ! 

170.  If  the  State  undertakes  the  proposed  task,  it  will 
make  this  education  universal  throughout  the  length  and 
breadth  of  its  domain  for  every  one  of  its  future  citizens 
without   exception.     Indeed,   it   is   for  that  universality 
alone  that  we  need  the  State,  since  for  individual  begin 
nings  and  isolated  attempts  the  resources  of  well-disposed 
"private  persons  would  suffice.     Of  course,  it  is  not  to  be 
expected  that  all  parents  will  be  willing  to  be  separated 
from  their  children,  and  to  hand  them  over  to  this  new 
education,  a  notion  of  which  it  will  be  difficult  to  convey 
to  them.     From  past  experience  we  must  reckon  that 
everyone   who   still   believes   he   is    able   to   support   his 
children  at  home  will  set  himself  against  public  education, 
and  especially  against  a  public  education  that  separates 
so  strictly  and  lasts  so  long.     Now,  in  these  cases  of  ex 
pected  resistance  it  has  been  customary  in  the  past  for 
statesmen   to   reject  the  proposal  with  the   reply:   The 
State  has  no  right  to  use  compulsion  for  that  purpose. 
If  they  want  to  wait  until  all  men  have  the  good  will, 
since  universal  goodwill  will  never  be  produced  without 
education,  they  are  thereby  secured  against  all  improve- 


ment,  and  may  expect  that  there  will  be  no  change 
until  the  end  of  time.  In  so  far  as  these  statesmen  are 
among  those  who  either  consider  any  education  an  un 
necessary  luxury,  with  which  people  should  be  supplied 
as  scantily  as  possible,  or  see  in  our  proposals  only  a 
daring  new  experiment  with  humanity,  which  may  or 
may  not  succeed,  they  are  to  be  praised  for  their  con 
scientiousness.  Those  who  are  filled  with  admiration 
for  the  existing  state  of  public  education  and  with  de 
light  at  the  perfection  which  it  has  reached  under  their 
direction  cannot  really  be  expected  now  to  agree  with 
something  which  they  do  not  already  know.  Not  one 
of  them  is  of  any  use  for  our  purpose,  and  it  would  be 
deplorable  if  the  decision  in  this  matter  were  to  rest 
with  them.  But  statesmen  might  be  found  and  consulted 
on  this  matter  who,  above  all  things,  have  educated  them 
selves  by  a  deep  and  thorough  study  of  philosophy  and 
science,  who  are  in  real  earnest  about  their  business,  have 
a  definite  idea  of  man  and  of  his  vocation,  and  are  capable 
of  understanding  the  present  and  of  judging  what  is 
absolutely  necessary  for  mankind  at  this  time.  If  such 
men  perceived  from  those  preliminary  conceptions  that 
education  alone  can  save  us  from  the  barbarism  and 
relapse  into  savagery  that  is  otherwise  bound  to  over 
whelm  us,  if  they  had  a  vision  of  the  new  human  race 
which  would  arise  through  this  education,  if  they  were 
themselves  inwardly  convinced  of  the  infallibility  and 
certainty  of  the  proposed  remedy,  they  might  be  expected 
to  have  realized  at  the  same  time  that  the  State,  as  the 
supreme  administrator  of  human  affairs  and  the  guardian 
of  those  who  are  its  wards,  responsible  only  to  God  and 
to  its  own  conscience,  has  a  perfect  right  even  to  compel 
the  latter  for  their  welfare.  For  where  is  there  a  State 
to-day  which  doubts  whether  it  has  the  right  to  compel 


its  subjects  to  military  service,  and  for  that  purpose  to 
take  away  children  from  parents,  whether  one  parent  or 
both  be  willing  or  unwilling  ?  Yet  this  compulsion  to 
adopt  permanently  a  certain  mode  of  life  against  one's 
will  is  far  more  serious,  and  has  frequently  the  most 
harmful  results  to  the  moral  condition,  health,  and  life 
of  those  who  are  so  compelled.  On  the  other  hand,  the 
compulsion  of  which  we  speak  restores  complete  personal 
freedom  when  education  is  finished,  and  can  have  none 
but  the  most  salutary  results.  It  is  true  that  even  mili 
tary  service  was  formerly  voluntary  ;  but,  when  it  was 
discovered  that  this  was  not  sufficient  for  the  purpose 
intended,  we  did  not  scruple  to  back  it  up  by  compulsion, 
because  the  matter  was  sufficiently  important  for  us, 
and  necessity  demanded  compulsion.  If  only  in  regard 
to  education,  too,  our  eyes  were  opened  to  our  need  and 
the  matter  became  as  important  to  us,  that  hesitation 
would  vanish  of  itself  ;  especially  as  compulsion  will  be 
needed  only  in  the  first  generation  and  will  vanisTTin  the 
next,  which  will  itself  have  passed  through  this  education. 
Moreover,  compulsory  military  service,  too,  will  thereby 
be  ended,  because  those  who  are  thus  educated  are  all 
equally  willing  to  bear  arms  for  their  fatherland.  Even 
if,  in  order  not  to  have  too  much  of  an  outcry  at  the 
beginning,  it  is  desirable  to  limit  this  compulsion  to  public 
education  in  the  same  way  as  compulsion  to  military 
service  has  hitherto  been  limited,  and  to  exclude  from  the 
former  the  classes  that  are  exempt  from  the  latter,  no 
serious  harm  will  result.  The  intelligent  parents  among 
those  exempted  will  voluntarily  hand  over  their  children 
to  this  education.  The  children  of  the  unintelligent 
parents  of  these  classes,  an  insignificant  minority,  may 
continue  to  grow  up  as  before.  They  will  survive  among 
the  better  generation  that  is  to  be  created,  and  serve 


merely  as  a  curious  memorial  of  the  past,  and  to  encourage 
the  new  age  to  a  vivid  knowledge  of  its  greater  good 

171.  Now,  this  education  is  to  be  national  education— 
of  the  Germans  simply  ;    and  the  great  majority  of  those 
who  speak  the  German  language,  and  not  just  the  citizens 
of  this  or  that  particular  German  State  only,  are  to  exist 
as  a  new  race  of  men.     Every  German  State,  therefore, 
must   undertake  this   task  for  itself,   and  independently 
of  all  the  others.     The  language  in  which  this  matter 
was  first  mentioned,  in  which  the  means  thereto  are  and 
will  be  written,  in  which  the  teachers  are  trained,  the 
one  vein  of  sensuous  imagery  that  permeates  all  this  is 
common  to  all  Germans.     I  can  scarcely  imagine  how  and 
with  what  changes  all  these  means  of  education,  especially 
to  the  full  extent  of  our  scheme,  could  be  translated  into 
the  language  of  any  foreign  country  so  as  to  seem,  not 
an  alien  transplanted  thing,  but  a  native  product  arising 
from   the   very   life   of   its   language.     For   all   Germans 
alike  this  difficulty  is  removed  ;    for  them  the  thing  is 
ready  ;    they  need  only  avail  themselves  of  it. 

172.  In  this  respect  it  is  well  for  us,  indeed,  that  there 
are  various  German  States  separated  from  one  another. 
What  has  so  often  been  to  our  disadvantage  may  perhaps 
in  this  important  national  business  serve  to  our  advantage. 
The  rivalry  of  several  States  and  the  desire  to  anticipate 
one   another   may   perhaps   bring   about  what   the   calm 
self-sufficiency  of  the  single   State  would  not   produce. 
For  it  is  clear  that,  whichever  German  State  makes  a  start 
in  this  matter,   that   State  will  win  for  itself  the  chief 
place  in  the  respect,  love,  and  gratitude  of  all,  and  will 
rank  as  the  greatest  benefactor  and  the  true  founder  of 
the  nation.     It  will  encourage  the   others,  set  them  an 
instructive  example,  and  be  their  model.     It  will  remove 


doubts  which  hold  the  others  fast.  It  will  produce  the 
textbooks  and  the  first  teachers,  and  lend  them  to  the 
others.  The  State  that  follows  it  next  will  win  the  second 
place  of  honour.  There  is  gratifying  evidence  that  among 
the  Germans  the  taste  for  higher  things  has  never  quite 
died  out,  for  several  German  peoples  and  States  have 
striven  with  one  another  for  the  honour  of  having  the 
higher  culture.  Some  have  claimed  to  have  more  exten 
sive  freedom  of  the  press  and  greater  disregard  for  tradi 
tional  opinion,  others  better  organized  schools  and 
universities  ;  some  have  cited  former  glory  and  merit, 
others  something  else  ;  and  the  strife  could  not  be  de 
cided.  On  the  present  occasion  it  will  be  decided. 
Only  that  education  which  dares  to  make  itself  universal 
and  to  include  all  men  without  distinction  is  a  real  part 
of  life  and  is  sure  of  itself.  Any  other  is  foreign  trimming, 
put  on  simply  for  show  and  not  even  worn  with  right  good 
conscience.  It  will  now  be  revealed  where  the  boasted 
culture  exists  only  in  a  few  people  of  the  middle  class, 
who  show  it  in  their  writings  (and  such  people  are  to  be 
found  in  every  German  State),  and  where,  on  the  other 
hand,  it  has  reached  also  the  higher  classes  who  advise 
the  State.  Then  it  will  be  shown,  too,  how  one  has  to 
judge  the  zeal  displayed  here  and  there  for  the  erection 
and  welfare  of  institutions  for  higher  education  ;  whether 
the  motive  was  pure  love  of  educating  mankind,  which 
would  indeed  treat  with  equal  zeal  every  branch  of  educa 
tion  and  especially  the  very  first  foundation,  or  mere 
passion  for  showing  off  and,  perhaps,  paltry  schemes  for 
making  money. 

173.  The  first  German  State  to  carry  out  this  pro 
posal  will,  I  said,  have  the  greatest  glory.  Yet  it  will 
not  long  stand  alone,  but  will  doubtless  soon  find  imi 
tators  and  rivals.  The  important  thing  is  to  make  a 


start.  Even  if  there  were  no  other  motive,  a  sense  of 
honour,  or  jealousy,  or  the  desire  to  have  what  another 
possesses  and,  if  possible,  to  have  it  in  a  better  form,  will 
spur  on  the  rest  to  follow  the  example  one  after  the  other. 
Then,  too,  the  above-mentioned  considerations  concerning 
the  State's  own  advantage,  which  perhaps  seem  doubtful 
to  many  just  now,  will  become  more  obvious,  once  they 
are  proved  by  personal  observation. 

If  it  could  be  expected  that  every  German  State  would  "' 
at  once,  and  from  this  very  hour,  make  serious  prepara 
tions  to  carry  out  that  scheme,  the  better  generation  that 
we  need  would  be  in  existence  in  twenty-five  years,  and 
anyone  who  might  expect  to  live  so  long  could  hope  to 
see  it  with  his  own  eyes. 

174.  But    we    must    also    take    this    contingency    into  } 
account.     Among  all  the  German  States  that  now  exist,  j 
there  might  not  be  a  single  one  which  had  among  its  i 
highest  advisers  a  man  capable  of  understanding,  and  of 
being  affected  by,   all  that  has  been  mentioned  above,  '• 
and  in  which  the  majority  of  the  counsellors  did  not  at 
any  rate  oppose  him.     In  that  case,  of  course,  this  business 
would  devolve  upon  well-disposed  private  persons,   and 
it  would  be  desirable  that  they  should  make  a  start  with 
the  proposed  new  education.     We  have  in  mind  here, 
first  of  all,  great  landowners,  who  could  establish  on  their 
estates  such  educational  institutions  for  the  children  of 
their  dependents.     It  is  to  Germany's  credit,  and  a  very 
honourable  mark  of  distinction  from  the  other  nations 
of  modern  Europe,  that  among  the  class  mentioned  there 
have   always   been   some  here   and   there,   who   made   it 
their   serious   business   to   care   for   the   instruction   and 
education   of   the   children   on    their   estates,    and   were 
gladly  willing  to  do  for  them  to  the  best  of  their  know 
ledge.     It  is  to  be  hoped  that  they  will  now  be  inclined 


to  inform  themselves  about  the  complete  scheme  that  is 
offered  them,  and  be  just  as  willing  to  do  now  on  a  large 
scale  and  thoroughly  what  they  have  hitherto  done  on  a 
small  scale  and  imperfectly.  It  may  be  that  some  of 
them  did  what  they  did  partly  because  they  saw  that  it 
was  more  profitable  for  them  to  have  educated,  rather 
than  uneducated,  dependents.  In  those  cases  where  the 
State,  by  abolishing  the  relationship  of  serf  and  lord, 
has  now  removed  the  latter  motive,  may  it  bear  in  mind 
the  more  earnestly  that  it  is  its  essential  duty  at  the  same 
time  not  to  do  away  with  the  one  blessing  which,  where 
the  lords  were  well-disposed,  was  attached  to  that 
relationship  !  May  the  State  in  this  case  not  fail  to  do 
that  which,  apart  from  this,  is  its  duty,  when  it  has 
released  therefrom  those  who  did  it  voluntarily  in  its 
stead  !  Then,  in  regard  to  the  cities,  we  look  to  volun 
tary  associations  formed  for  that  purpose  by  well-disposed 
citizens.  So  far  as  I  have  been  able  to  see,  no  burden 
of  misery  has  ever  yet  extinguished  in  German  hearts 
the  impulse  to  do  good.  Yet,  owing  to  a  number  of 
faults  in  our  institutions,  which  could  all  be  included 
under  the  one  head  of  neglected  education,  these  good 
works  seldom  remove  misery,  but  seem,  indeed,  often  to 
increase  it.  May  we  at  last  direct  that  excellent  impulse 
chiefly  towards  the  good  work  which  puts  an  end  to  all 
misery  and  to  all  need  of  further  good  works — the  good 
work  of  education.  Yet  we  need,  and  count  upon,  a 
blessing  and  sacrifice  of  another  kind,  which  consists, 
not  in  giving,  but  in  doing  and  acting.  May  budding 
scholars,  whose  position  allows  it,  dedicate  the  time 
between  their  departure  from  the  university  and  their 
appointment  to  a  public  post  to  the  business  of  receiving 
instruction  in  these  institutions  concerning  this  method 
of  teaching,  and  of  teaching  in  them  !  Apart  from  the 


fact  that  they  will  thereby  deserve  well  of  the  community, 
we  can  assure  them  that  they  will  themselves  gain  very 
much.  All  the  knowledge  which  they  carry  away  with 
them  from  the  usual  university  teaching,  and  which  is 
often  so  dead,  will  become  clear  and  living  in  the  atmos 
phere  of  general  observation  into  which  they  come  here. 
They  will  learn  to  reproduce  and  use  their  knowledge 
with  skill.  Since  all  the  features  of  mankind  appear 
pure  and  clear  in  the  child,  they  will  acquire  a  store  of 
true  knowledge  of  mankind  that  alone  deserves  the  name  ; 
they  will  be  introduced  to  the  great  art  of  life  and  action, 
in  which  the  university  usually  gives  no  instruction. 

175.  If  the  State  does  not  undertake  the  proffered  task/ 
so  much  the  greater  glory  for  the  private  persons  who  do. 
Far  be  it  from  us  to  anticipate  the  future  with  surmises, 
or  strike  the  note  of  doubt  and  distrust.     We  have  stated 
clearly  what  we  wish  for  first.     We  may,  however,  be- 
permitted  to  say  that,  if  the  State  and  the  princes  should 
in  fact  leave  the  matter  to  private  persons,  this  would  be 
in  accordance  with  the  usual  course  of  German  develop-  '• 
ment   and   culture,   which   has   been   already  mentioned 
and  proved  by  examples,  and  which  would  continue  so 
to  the  end.     In  this  case,  too,  the  State  will  follow  in 
its  own  time  ;    at  first  like  an  individual,  wanting  just 
to  do  its  part,  until  later  it  reflects  that  it  is  not  a  part, 
but  the  whole,  and  that  it  is  its  duty,  as  well  as  its  right,  - 
to  care  for  the  whole.     From  that  moment  onwards,  all 
the  independent  efforts  of  private  persons  cease  and  are 
subordinated  to  the  State's  general  scheme. 

Should  the  matter  take  this  course,  the  intended  refor 
mation  of  our  race  will  certainly  proceed  but  slowly,  and 
without  the  possibility  of  a  definite  and  fixed  survey  and 
estimate  of  the  whole.  But  let  us  not  be  deterred  by  this 
from  making  a  start  !  It  is  the  very  nature  of  the  thing 


that  it  can  never  perish,  but,  once  set  in  motion,  it  lives 
on  of  itself  and  spreads,  ever  gaining  fresh  ground.  Every 
one  who  has  received  this  education  becomes  a  witness 
for  it  and  a  zealous  propagator.  Everyone  will  pay  his 
debt  for  the  teaching  received  by  becoming  a  teacher 
himself,  and  by  making  as  many  disciples  as  he  can,  who 
will  also  in  turn  some  day  become  teachers.  This  must 
continue  until  the  whole  community  without  exception 
is  affected. 

176.  If  the  State  should  not  undertake  the  matter, 
private  enterprise  has  this  to  fear  ;  that  those  parents 
who  are  at  all  well-to-do  will  not  give  up  their  children 
to  this  education.  In  that  case,  in  God's  name  let 
us  turn  with  full  confidence  to  the  poor  orphans,  to 
the  wretched  street-children,  and  to  all  those  whom 
the  adult  world  has  cast  out  and  rejected.  Formerly, 
especially  in  those  German  States  where  the  piety  of 
ancestors  had  greatly  increased  and  richly  endowed  the 
public  educational  institutions,  many  parents  let  their 
families  have  instruction,  because  along  with  it,  as  in 
no  other  occupation,  they  found  maintenance  at  the  same 
time.  Let  us,  therefore,  since  it  is  necessary,  reverse 
this  order,  and  give  bread  to  those  to  whom  no  one  else 
gives  it,  in  order  that,  along  with  the  bread,  they  may 
receive  mental  culture  also.  Let  us  not  fear  that  the 
misery  and  wildness  of  their  former  condition  will  hinder 
our  purpose  !  If  only  we  snatch  them  away  from  it 
suddenly  and  completely,  bring  them  into  an  entirely 
new  world,  and  leave  nothing  to  remind  them  of  the  past, 
they  will  themselves  forget  and  be  like  newly-created 
beings.  Our  course  of  instruction  and  daily  routine 
must  guarantee  that  only  good  is  engraven  on  this  clean 
new  tablet.  It  will  be  a  testimony  against  our  age  and 
a  warning  to  all  posterity  if  the  very  ones  whom  it  has 


rejected  obtain  through  this  rejection  the  sole  privilege 
of  founding  a  new  race,  if  they  bring  the  blessing  of  educa 
tion  to  the  children  of  those  who  would  not  mix  with 
them,  and  if  they  become  the  ancestors  of  our  future 
heroes,  sages,  lawgivers,  and  saviours  of  mankind. 

177.  For  the  first  establishment  capable  teachers  and 
educators  above  all  are  needed.  Pestalozzi's  school  has 
trained  such  people,  and  is  always  ready  to  train  more. 
An  important  thing  to  keep  in  mind  at  the  beginning 
will  be  that  every  institution  of  the  kind  should  regard 
itself  also  as  a  training  school  for  teachers,  where,  round 
the  teachers  who  are  already  trained,  a  number  of  young 
men  may  gather  to  learn  and,  at  the  same  time,  to  practise 
teaching,  and  by  practice  to  learn  it  better  and  better. 
This,  too,  will  greatly  facilitate  the  supply  of  teachers, 
in  case  the  institutions  have  at  first  to  struggle  against 
poverty.  Most  of  them  will  be  there  to  learn  ;  let  the 
sole  return  asked  of  them  be  to  apply  for  a  time  what  they 
have  learnt  to  the  benefit  of  the  institution  where  they 
learnt  it. 

Moreover,  such  an  institution  needs  a  building,  initial 
equipment,  and  an  adequate  piece  of  land.  It  seems 
evident  that,  as  these  institutions  develop,  they  will 
contain  a  relatively  large  number  of  growing  youths  of 
an  age  at  which,  under  the  existing  arrangement,  they 
earn  as  servants  not  only  their  maintenance  but  also  a 
yearly  wage.  To  these  the  children  of  more  tender 
age  can  be  entrusted,  and  by  diligence  and  wise  economy, 
which  in  any  case  are  necessary,  these  institutions  will 
be  mainly  self-supporting.  At  first,  so  long  as  there  are 
none  of  these  older  pupils,  the  institutions  will  need  rather 
large  contributions.  It  is  to  be  hoped  that  people  will 
be  more  disposed  to  make  contributions,  when  they  see 
the  prospect  of  an  end  to  them.  Let  us  not  be  parsi- 


monious,  and  so  prejudice  the  aim.     It  is  far  better  that 
we  should  do  nothing  at  all  than  permit  this. 

My  opinion,  therefore,  is  that,  goodwill  alone  pre 
supposed,  the  realization  of  this  scheme  presents  no 
difficulty  that  could  not  easily  be  overcome  by  the  com 
bination  of  several  people,  and  by  the  directing  of  all 
their  strength  to  this  one  purpose. 



178.  THE  education  which  we  propose  to  the  Germans 
as  their  future  national  education  has  now  been  suffi 
ciently  described.  When  once  the  generation  that  has 
been  formed  by  this  education  is  in  existence — a  genera 
tion  impelled  by  its  taste  for  the  right  and  the  good  and 
by  nothing  else  whatever  ;  a  generation  provided  with  an 
understanding  that  is  adequate  for  its  standpoint  and 
recognizes  the  right  unfailingly  on  every  occasion  ;  a 
generation  equipped  with  full  power,  both  physical  and 
spiritual,  to  carry  out  its  will  on  every  occasion — when 
once  this  generation  is  in  existence,  everything  that  we 
can  long  for  in  our  boldest  wishes  will  come  into  being 
of  itself  from  the  very  existence  of  that  generation,  and 
will  grow  out  of  it  naturally.  That  age  is  in  so  little 
need  of  any  rules  we  can  make  for  its  guidance  that  we 
should  rather  have  to  learn  from  it. 

Since  this  generation  is  in  the  meantime  not  in  exis 
tence,  but  must  first  be  raised  up  by  education,  and  since, 
even  if  everything  else  should  go  on  excellently  and  beyond 
our  expectation,  we  shall  nevertheless  require  a  consider 
able  interval  before  we  pass  over  to  that  new  age,  the 
more  urgent  question  arises  :  How  are  we  to  manage  to 
get  through  this  interval  ?  Since  we  can  do  nothing 



better,  how  are  we  to  maintain  ourselves  at  any  rate  as  the 
soil  on  which  the  improvement  may  take  place,  and  as 
the  point  of  departure  at  which  this  improvement  may 
begin  its  work  ?  When  once  the  generation  formed  in 
this  way  emerges  from  its  seclusion  and  appears  among 
us,  how  are  we  to  prevent  it  from  finding  among  us  actual 
conditions  that  have  not  the  slightest  relationship  to 
the  order  of  things  which  it  has  conceived  as  embodying 
the  right — actual  conditions  under  which  no  one  under 
stands  it  or  has  the  slightest  wish  for,  or  need  of,  such 
an  order  of  things,  but,  on  the  contrary,  regards  the 
existing  state  of  things  as  entirely  natural  and  the  only 
one  possible  ?  Would  not  those  who  have  another  world 
in  their  hearts  soon  become  confused  ;  and  in  this  case 
would  not  the  new  education  be  just  as  useless  for  the 
improvement  of  actual  life  as  the  former  education, 
and  lose  its  savour  in  the  same  way  ? 

179.  If  the  majority  of  people  continue  in  their 
previous  state  of  heedlessness,  thoughtlessness,  and  lack 
of  concentration,  this  very  result  may  be  expected  as 
inevitable.  He  who  lets  himself  go  without  paying  heed 
to  himself,  and  allows  himself  to  be  moulded  by  circum 
stances  just  as  they  please,  soon  accustoms  himself  to  any 
possible  order  of  things.  However  much  his  eye  may 
have  been  offended  by  something  when  he  first  saw  it,  let 
it  only  present  itself  anew  every  day  in  .the  same  way  and 
he  accustoms  himself  to  it.  Later,  he  finds  it  natural, 
and  in  the  end  he  even  gets  to  like  it  as  something  inevit 
able  ;  he  would  not  thank  you  for  the  restoration  of 
the  original  and  better  state  of  things,  because  this  would 
tear  him  out  of  the  mode  of  life  to  which  he  has  become 
accustomed.  In  this  way  men  become  accustomed  even 
to  slavery,  if  only  their  material  existence  is  not  thereby 
affected,  and  in  time  they  get  to  like  it.  It  is  just  this 


that  is  the  most  dangerous  thing  about  a  state  of  subjection; 
it  makes  men  insensitive  to  all  true  honour,  and,  more 
over,  for  the  indolent  man  it  has  its  very  pleasant  side, 
because  it  relieves  him  of  many  a  care  and  of  the  need 
of  thinking  for  himself. 

1 80.  Let  us  be  on  our  guard  against  being  taken  un 
awares  by  this  sweetness  of  servitude,  for  it  robs  even  our 
posterity  of  the  hope  of  future  emancipation.  If  our 
external  activity  is  restricted  and  fettered,  let  us  elevate 
our  spirit  all  the  more  boldly  to  the  thought  of  freedom  ; 
let  us  rise  to  live  in  this  thought  and  make  it  the  sole 
object  of  our  wish  and  longing.  What  if  freedom  dis 
appear  for  a  time  from  the  visible  world  ?  Let  us  give 
it  a  place  of  refuge  in  our  innermost  thoughts,  until 
there  shall  grow  up  round  about  us  the  new  world  which 
has  the  power  of  manifesting  our  thoughts  outwardly. 
In  the  sphere  where  no  one  can  deprive  us  of  the  freedom 
to  do  as  we  think  best — in  our  own  minds  let  us  make 
ourselves  a  pattern,  a  prophecy,  and  a  guarantee  of  that 
which  will  become  a  reality  when  we  are  gone.  Let  us 
not  allow  our  spirit,  as  well  as  our  body,  to  be  bent  and 
subjected  and  brought  into  captivity. 

181.  If  you  ask  me  how  this  is  to  be  brought  about, 
the  only  entirely  comprehensive  answer  is  this  :   We  must 
at    once    become   what    we    ought    to    be    in   any   case, 
namely,   Germans.     We   are  not   to   subject  our  spirit  ; 
therefore  we  must  before  all  things  provide  a  spirit  for 
ourselves,  and  a  firm  and  certain  spirit ;   we  must  become 
earnest  in  all  things  and  not  go  on  existing  frivolously,  as 
if  life  were  a  jest ;  we  must  form  for  ourselves  enduring  and\ 
unshakable  principles  which  will    serve   as  a  sure  guide  \ 
for  all  the  rest  of  our  thoughts  and  actions.     Life  and 
thought  with  us  must  be  of  one  piece  and  a  solid  and\ 
interpenetrating  whole  ;    in  both  we  must  live  according  ' 


to  nature  and  truth,  and  throw  away  foreign  contrivances ; 
in  a  word,  we  must  provide  character  for  ourselves ;  for 
to  have  character  and  to  be  German  [Charakter  haben 
und  deutsch  sein]  undoubtedly  mean  the  same  ;  and  the 
thing  has  no  special  name  in  our  language,  because  it  is 
intended  to  proceed  immediately  from  our  very  existence 
without  any  knowledge  or  reflection  on  our  part. 

182.  We  must  first  of  all  set  our  own  thoughts  to 
work  and  think  about  the  great  events  of  our  days,  their 
relation  to  us,  and  what  we  have  to  expect  from  them  ; 
and  we  must  provide  ourselves  with  a  firm  and  clear  view 
of  all  these  matters,  and  a  definite  and  unchangeable  Yes 
or  No  in  answer  to  the  questions  that  arise  out  of  them. 
Everyone  who  makes  the  slightest  claim  to  culture  is 
bound  to  do  that.  The  animal  life  of  man  proceeds  in 
all  ages  according  to  the  same  laws,  and  in  this  every 
age  is  alike.  Only  to  the  understanding  are  there  such 
things  as  different  ages ;  and  only  the  man  whose  conception 
penetrates  them  lives  in  them,  and  only  he  exists  in  his 
own  age  ;  any  other  kind  of  life  is  nothing  but  the  life 
of  plants  and  animals.  To  let  everything  that  happens 
pass  by  one  unperceived,  perhaps  to  close  eye  and  ear 
diligently  to  its  urgent  message,  and  even  to  boast  of  such 
thoughtlessness  as  if  it  were  great  wisdom— this  may  be 
the  proper  thing  for  a  rock  on  which  the  waves  of  the 
sea  beat  without  its  feeling  them,  or  for  a  tree-trunk 
dashed  to  and  fro  by  storms  without  its  perceiving  them  ; 
but  in  no  wise  does  it  beseem  a  thinking  being.  Even  the 
thinker  who  dwells  in  the  higher  spheres  is  not  absolved 
from  this  general  obligation  of  understanding  his  own 
age.  Everything  that  is  on  the  higher  plane  must  want 
to  influence  the  immediate  present  in  its  own  fashion  ; 
and  he  who  truly  lives  in  the  former  lives  at  the  same 
time  in  the  latter  also ;  if  he  did  not  live  in  the  latter 


also,  it  would  be  a  proof  that  he  did  not  live  in  the 
former  either,  but  only  dreamed  in  it.  That  lack  of  heed 
to  what  is  going  on  before  our  eyes,  and  the  artful  dis 
traction  to  other  objects  of  the  attention  that  is  everywhere 
aroused,  would  be  the  best  thing  that  an  enemy  of  our 
independence  could  wish  to  find.  If  he  is  sure  that 
nothing  will  set  us  thinking,  he  can  do  anything  he  wishes 
with  us,  as  if  we  were  lifeless  tools.  It  is  precisely  this 
thoughtlessness  that  accustoms  itself  to  anything  ;  but 
where  clear  and  comprehensive  thought,  and  in  that 
thought  the  image  of  what  ought  to  be,  always  remains 
watchful,  there  is  no  question  of  becoming  accustomed 
to  such  things. 

183.  These  addresses  have  in  the  first  place  invited  you, 
and  they  will  invite  the  whole  German  nation,  in  so  far 
as  it  is  possible  at  the  present  time  to  assemble  the  nation 
around  a  speaker  by  means  of  the  printed  book,  to  come 
to  a  definite  decision  and  to  be  at  one  with  themselves 
in  their  own  minds  on  the  following  questions  : 

(1)  Whether  it  is  true  or  untrue  that  there  is  a  German 
nation,  and  that  its  continued  existence  in  its  peculiar 
and  independent  nature  is  at  the  present  time  in  danger ; 

(2)  Whether  it  is  worth  the  trouble,  or  not  worth  the 
trouble,  to  maintain  this  nation  ; 

(3)  Whether  there  is  any  sure  and  thorough  means  of 
maintaining  it,  and  what  this  means  is. 

184.  It  was  hitherto  a  custom  of  long  standing  among 
us  that,  when  any  earnest  word  was  uttered,  either  to 
an    audience   or  in  print,  those  who  never  got    beyond 
polite    conversation    took    possession    of    the    word    and 
transformed  it  into  an  amusing  subject  of  talk  to  relieve 
their  boredom.     Now,  I  have  not  noticed,  as  I  have  on 
former  occasions,  that  those  around  me  have  made  such 
a  use  of  the  addresses  I  am  now  delivering  ;  but  I  have  not 



acquainted  myself  with  the  current  tone  of  the  social 
gatherings  in  the  field  of  books — I  mean  the  literary 
papers  and  other  journals — and  I  do  not  know  whether 
they  may  be  expected  to  take  me  in  joke  or  in  earnest. 
However  this  may  be,  it  has  at  any  rate  not  been  my 
intention  to  joke,  or  to  set  in  motion  once  more  the  wit 
which  this  age  of  ours  is  known  to  possess. 

185.  A  custom  that  took  deeper  root  among  us  and 
became  almost  second  nature — so  much  so  that  not  to 
observe  it  was  almost  unheard-of — was  that  the  Germans 
regarded  the  introduction  of  any  topic  as  an  invitation  to 
everyone  who  had  a  mouth  to  have  his  own  say  about  it, 
quickly  and  on  the  spot,  and  to  inform  us  whether  he  was 
of  the  same  opinion  or  not  ;  and  when  the  vote  had  been 
taken  in  this  way  the  whole  thing  was  over,  and  public 
conversation  felt  bound  to  proceed  with  haste  to  another 
subject.  In  this  way  all  literary  discussion  among  the 
Germans  transformed  itself,  like  Echo  in  the  ancient 
fable,  into  nothing  but  pure  sound,  without  any  body 
or  bodily  substance.  We  know  how  it  is  in  the  personal 
intercourse  of  third-rate  society,  and  so  it  was  in  this 
literary  fellowship  ;  the  only  thing  that  mattered  was 
that  the  human  voice  should  go  on  sounding,  and  that 
each  one  should  take  up  the  ball  of  conversation  and  with 
out  a  pause  throw  it  to  his  neighbour  ;  but  what  was  said 
did  not  matter  in  the  least.  Now,  if  that  is  not  being 
without  character  and  un-German,  what  is  ?  Nor  has 
it  been  my  intention  to  do  homage  to  this  custom  and 
merely  keep  alive  public  discussion.  I  have  long  ago 
sufficiently  performed  my  own  share  in  this  public 
conversation — though  only  incidentally,  my  purpose 
having  been  different — and  I  think  I  might  at  last  be 
absolved  from  any  further  contribution.  I  do  not  want  to 
know  on  the  spot  what  A  or  B  thinks  about  the  questions 


that  have  been  raised  here,  i.e.,  what  he  has  hitherto 
thought  about  them,  or  not  thought.  He  must  consider 
it  for  himself  and  think  deeply  about  it,  until  his  judg 
ment  is  ready  and  completely  clear,  and  he  must  take 
the  necessary  time  for  that  purpose  ;  if  he  is  still  lacking 
in  the  requisite  preliminary  knowledge,  and  in  the  full 
degree  of  culture  that  is  required  before  a  judgment 
can  be  formed  in  these  matters,  he  must  further  take  time 
to  make  good  these  deficiencies.  If  anyone  has  his 
judgment  ready  and  clear  in  this  way,  we  do  not  exactly 
insist  that  he  shall  deliver  it  publicly.  Should  it  agree 
with  what  has  been  said  here — well,  it  has  been  said 
already  and  does  not  need  saying  twice.  Only  he  who 
can  say  something  different  and  better  is  called  upon  to 
speak.  On  the  other  hand,  what  has  been  said  here 
must  be  really  lived  and  put  into  practice  by  each  one 
in  his  own  way  and  according  to  his  own  circumstances. 

1 86.  Least  of  all,  in  conclusion,  has  it  been  my  inten 
tion  to  lay  these  addresses  as  an  exercise  in  composition 
before  our  German  masters  of  doctrine  and  writing,  so 
that  they  may  correct  them  and  I  may  learn  in  this  way 
what    promise,    if   any,    there   is   in  my  work.     In   this 
respect    also    plenty   of    good    doctrine   and   advice   has 
already  been  directed  towards  me  and,  if  improvement 
were  to  be  expected,  it  ought  to  have  shown  itself  by  now. 

187.  No,  my  intention  in  the  first  place  was  to  be  a 
guide  among  the  swarm  of  questions  and  investigations 
and  the  host  of  contradictory  opinions  concerning  them, 
in  which  educated  men   among  us  have  hitherto   been 
tossed  about,  and  to  lead  as  many  men  as  I  could  to  a 
point  where  they  might  take  a  firm  stand,  to  the  point 
which  concerns  us  most  intimately — the  point  of  our  own 
common  interests.     My  intention  was  to  bring  them  in 
this  one  matter  to  a  firm  opinion  which  might  remain 


unshaken,  and  to  a  clearness  in  which  they  might  really 

see  their  way.     However  much  else  might  be  a  matter  of 

!  dispute  among  them,  my  intention  was  to  unite  them  in 

\this  one  matter  at  least,  and  to  make  them  of  one  mind. 

j  It  was  my  intention,  finally,   to  bring  this  out  as  one 

certain  characteristic  of  the  German,  viz.,  that  he  is  a 

man  who  has  appreciated  the  need  of  forming  an  opinion 

for  himself  about  that  which  concerns  Germans ;  and  to 

make  it  clear  that  a  man  who  does  not  want  to  hear  or  to 

think  anything  about  this  subject  may  rightly  be  regarded, 

from  now  on,  as  not  belonging  to  us. 

1 88.  The  creation  of  a  firm  opinion  of  this  kind,  and 
the  association  and  mutual  comprehension  of  divers 
persons  on  this  subject,  will  do  two  things.  It  will  be 
the  direct  means  of  redeeming  our  character,  by  removing 
that  lack  of  concentration  which  is  so  unworthy  of  us, 
and  at  the  same  time  it  will  become  a  powerful  means 
of  attaining  our  main  object,  the  introduction  of  the  new 
national  education.  It  was  just  because  we  ourselves, 
individually  and  collectively,  were  never  of  one  opinion, 
but  wanted  one  thing  to-day  and  something  different 
tomorrow,  and  because  each  one  made  the  clamour 
more  confused  by  shouting  something  different — it  was 
for  this  reason  that  our  governments,  who  to  be  sure 
listened  to  us,  and  often  listened  more  attentively  than 
was  advisable,  became  confused  and  swayed  to  and  fro 
just  like  our  own  opinion.  If  our  common  affairs  are 
at  last  to  pursue  a  firm  and  certain  course,  what  is  there 
to  prevent  us  from  beginning  at  once  with  ourselves  and 
setting  the  example  of  firmness  and  decision  ?  When 
once  a  united  and  unchanging  opinion  makes  itself  heard, 
when  a  definite  need  announces  itself  as  a  general  need  and 
makes  itself  felt — the  need  of  a  national  education,  as  we 
assume  it  will  be — I  am  quite  sure  that  our  governments 


will  listen  to  us ;  they  will  help  us,  if  we  show  the  inclina 
tion  to  allow  ourselves  to  be  helped.  At  any  rate,  if 
they  did  not,  we  would  then,  and  not  before,  have  the 
right  to  complain  about  them  ;  at  the  present  time, 
when  our  governments  are  pretty  much  as  we  want  them 
to  be,  it  ill  becomes  us  to  complain. 

189.  Whether  there  is  a  sure  and  thorough  means  of 
preserving  the  German  nation,  and  what  this  means  may 
be,  is  the  most  important  of  the  questions  which  I  have 
submitted   to   this   nation   for    decision.     My   object    in 
answering  the  question,  and  in  stating  the  reasons  for  my 
way  of  answering  it,  was  not  to  say  what  the  final  judgment 
will  be — that  could  not  be  of  any  use,  because  everyone 
who  is  to  have  a  hand  in  this  matter  must  have  convinced 
himself  in  his  own  mind  by  his  own  activity — on  the  con 
trary,  my  object  was  only  to  stimulate  men  to  reflect  for 
themselves  and  form  their  own  judgment.    From  this  point 
onwards  I  must  leave  each  man  to  settle  it  for  himself. 
One    warning    I    can   give  and    nothing   more  ;    do    not 
let  yourselves   be  deceived  by  the  shallow  and  superficial 
thoughts  which  are  in  circulation  even  on  this  subject ;   do 
not  let  yourselves  be  restrained  from  deep  reflection,  and 
do  not  accept  the  empty  consolations  that  are  offered. 

190.  For  example,  long  before  the  most  recent  events, 
we  had  to  hear,  in  advance  as  it  were,  a  saying  which  since 
then  has  frequently  been  repeated  in  our  ears  :  that  even 
if   our  political  independence  were   lost  we   should   still 
keep  our  language  and  our  literature,  and  thereby  always 
remain  a  nation  ;   so  we  could  easily  console  ourselves  for 
the  loss  of  everything  else. 

But,  first  of  all,  what  basis  is  there  for  hoping  that  we 
shall  keep  our  language  even  if  we  lose  our  political 
independence  ?  Surely  those  who  say  this  do  not 
ascribe  this  miraculous  power  to  their  own  persuasions 


and  admonitions  when  addressed  to  their  children,  their 
children's  children,  and  to  all  the  centuries  to  come. 
Those  men  now  living  and  mature,  who  have  accustomed 
themselves  to  speaking,  writing,  and  reading  in  the 
German  language,  will  no  doubt  go  on  doing  so  ;  but 
what  will  the  next  generation  do,  and,  more  important 
still,  the  third  generation  ?  What  counterpoise  do  we 
propose  to  place  in  the  hearts  of  these  generations  that 
will  hold  the  scale  against  their  desire  to  please,  by  speech 
and  writing,  the  race  with  which  all  glory  rests  and  which 
has  all  favours  to  distribute  ?  Have  we,  then,  never 
heard  of  a  language  l  which  is  the  first  in  the  world, 
although  it  is  known  that  the  first  works  in  that  language 
are  still  to  be  written  ;  and  do  we  not  already  see  before 
our  eyes  that  writings  are  appearing  in  it  by  whose  con 
tents  the  authors  hope  to  find  favour  ?  The  example  of 
two  other  languages  is  brought  forward  in  support,  one 
of  the  ancient  and  one  of  the  modern  world,  which,  in 
spite  of  the  political  destruction  of  the  peoples  who  spoke 
them,  continued  to  exist  as  living  languages.  I  do  not 
intend  even  to  examine  the  manner  in  which  they  have 
continued  to  exist  ;  but  this  much  is  clear  at  first  sight, 
that  both  languages  had  something  in  them  which  ours 
does  not  possess,  and  by  means  of  this  they  found  favour 
with  their  conquerors,  which  our  language  can  never 
find.  If  these  vain  comforters  had  looked  about  them 
better,  they  would  have  found  another  example  which, 
in  our  opinion,  is  entirely  to  the  point  here,  viz.,  the 
language  of  the  Wends.  This,  too,  has  continued  to 
exist  during  all  the  centuries  in  wriich  the  people  that 
speaks  it  has  been  deprived  of  its  freedom — it  exists,  that 

1  [Fichte  seems  here  to  be  referring  ironically  to  French  and  to  those 
Germans  who  were  writing  in  that  language  in  order  to  curry  favour  with 


is  to  say,  in  the  wretched  hovels  of  the  serf  bound  to  the 
soil,  so  that  he  may  bemoan  his  fate  in  his  own  language 
which  his  oppressor  does  not  understand. 

But  let  us  suppose  that  our  language  remains  a  living 
and  a  literary  language  and  so  preserves  its  literature  ; 
what  sort  of  literature  can  that  be,  the  literature  of  a 
people  without  political  independence  ?  What  does  a" 
sensible  writer  want,  and  what  can  he  want  ?  Nothing 
else  but  to  influence  public  life  and  the  life  of  all,  and  to 
form  and  reshape  it  according  to  his  vision  ;  and  if  he 
does  not  want  to  do  this,  everything  he  says  is  empty 
sound  to  tickle  the  ears  of  the  indolent.  He  wants  to 
think  originally  and  from  the  root  of  spiritual  life  for 
those  who  act  just  as  originally,  i.e.,  govern.  He  can, 
therefore,  only  write  in  a  language  in  which  the  governors 
think,  in  a  language  in  which  the  work  of  government 
is  carried  on,  in  the  language  of  a  people  that  forms  an 
independent  State.  For  what  is  the  ultimate  aim  of  all 
our  efforts  even  in  regard  to  the  most  abstract  sciences  ? 
Admitting  that  the  immediate  objects  of  these  efforts  is 
to  propagate  the  science  from  generation  to  generation 
and  to  maintain  it  in  the  world,  the  question  arises  : 
Why  should  it  be  maintained  ?  Obviously  only  in  order 
to  shape  the  life  of  all  and  the  whole  human  order  of 
things  when  the  right  time  comes.  That  is  its  ultimate 
object ;  hence,  every  effort  in  science  indirectly  serves  the 
State,  though  it  may  be  only  in  a  remote  future.  If  it 
abandons  this  aim,  it  loses  its  worth  and  its  independence. 
But  he  who  sets  this  aim  before  him  must  write  in  the 
language  of  the  dominant  race. 

191.  Just  as  it  is  true  beyond  doubt  that,  wherever  a[ 
separate  language  is  found,  there  a  separate  nation  exists,  \ 
which  has  the  right  to  take  independent  charge  of  its 
affairs  and  to  govern  itself  ;    so  one  can  say,  on  the  other 


hand,  that,  where  a  people  has  ceased  to  govern  itself,  it 
is  equal]y  bound  to  give  up  its  language  and  to  coalesce 
with  its  conquerors,  in  order  that  there  may  be  unity 
and  internal  peace  and  complete  oblivion  of  relationships 
which  no  longer  exist.  Even  a  semi-intelligent  leader  of 
such  a  mixture  of  races  must  insist  on  this ;  and  we  may 
be  quite  sure  that  in  our  case  the  insistence  will  not  be 
lacking.  Until  this  amalgamation  has  taken  place, 
approved  school-books  will  be  translated  into  the  lan 
guage  of  the  barbarians,  i.e.,  those  who  are  too  stupid  to 
learn  the  language  of  the  dominant  race,  and  who  thereby 
exclude  themselves  from  all  influence  on  public  affairs 
and  condemn  themselves  to  lifelong  subjection.  These 
persons,  who  have  sentenced  themselves  to  silence  con 
cerning  actual  events,  will  be  permitted  to  exercise  their 
oratorical  skill  on  the  disputes  of  a  fictitious  world,  or  to 
imitate  in  their  own  way  obsolete  and  ancient  forms  ; 
proofs  of  the  former  condition  may  be  found  in  the  case 
of  the  ancient  language  that  was  cited  above  as  an  example, 
and  of  the  latter  in  the  case  of  the  modern  language. 
Such  a  literature  we  might  perhaps  retain  for  some  time 
yet  ;  and  with  such  a  literature  let  him  console  himself 
who  has  no  better  consolation.  But,  as  to  those  who 
might  be  capable  of  playing  the  man,  of  seeing  the  truth, 
and  of  becoming  aroused  by  the  sight  of  it  to  decision 
and  action — that  they  should  be  kept  in  indolent  slumber 
by  such  a  worthless  consolation,  which  would  be  the  very 
thing  to  serve  the  purpose  of  an  enemy  of  our  independence, 
that  is  what  I  should  like  to  prevent  if  I  could. 

192.  So  we  are  promised  the  continuance  of  a  German 
literature  for  future  generations  !  In  order  to  form  a 
better  judgment  of  the  hopes  that  we  can  entertain  in 
this  matter,  it  would  be  very  profitable  to  look  about  us 
and  see  whether  we  still  have  at  this  moment  a  German 


literature  in  the  true  sense  of  the  word.  The  noblest 
privilege  and  the  most  sacred  function  of  the  man  of 
letters  is  this :  to  assemble  his  nation  and  to  take  counsel 
with  it  about  its  most  important  affairs.  But  especially 
in  Germany  this  has  always  been  the  exclusive  function 
of  the  man  of  letters,  because  Germany  was  split  up  into 
several  separate  States,  and  was  held  together  as  a  common 
whole  almost  solely  by  the  instrumentality  of  the  man  of 
letters,  by  speech  and  writing.  In  the  most  special  and 
urgent  way  does  it  become  his  function  at  the  present 
time,  now  that  the  last  external  bond  which  united  the 
Germans,  the  imperial  constitution,  has  also  been  de 
stroyed.  If  it  should  now  be  evident — we  are  not  speaking 
here  of  something  we  know  or  fear,  but  only  of  a  possible 
case,  which  we  must  nevertheless  take  into  consideration 
in  advance — if  it  should,  I  say,  be  evident  that  State 
officials  in  the  separate  States  were  already  so  obsessed  by 
anxiety,  fear,  and  terror,  that  they  first  forbade  such 
voices  to  make  themselves  heard  or  prohibited  the 
spreading  of  the  message,  voices  which  assumed  that  a 
nation  was  still  in  existence  and  addressed  themselves 
to  it  ;  then,  that  would  be  a  proof  that  we  already  had 
no  German  men  of  letters  at  work,  and  wre  should  know 
what  our  prospects  would  be  for  any  literature  in  the 

193.  Now,  what  could  it  be  that  these  people  are 
afraid  of  ?  Perhaps  that  this  man  or  that  will  not  be 
pleased  to  hear  voices  of  that  kind.  Then,  at  any  rate 
they  would  have  chosen  the  time  badly  for  their  tender 
consideration.  Pamphlets  libelling  and  degrading  the 
fatherland,  insipid  praises  of  what  is  foreign,  they  are 
plainly  unable  to  prevent  ;  then  let  them  not  be  so  strict 
against  a  word  for  the  fatherland  which  makes  itself  rjprd 
in  between.  It  is  quite  possible  that  all  are  not  equally 


willing  to  hear  all  things ;  but  at  this  time  we  cannot 
concern  ourselves  with  that ;  we  are  urged  on  by  necessity, 
and  we  must  say  just  what  necessity  orders  us  to  say. 
We  are  fighting  for  life  ;  do  they  want  us  to  walk  delicately, 
lest  some  robe  of  state  be  covered  with  the  dust  we  may 
raise  ?  We  are  sinking  in  the  water-floods  ;  are  we  to 
refrain  from  calling  for  help,  lest  some  weak-nerved 
neighbour  may  be  alarmed  ? 

194.  For,  who  are  they  who  might  not  like  to  hear  it, 
and  on  what  condition  might  they  not  like  to  hear  it  ? 
In  every  case  it  is  only  obscurity  and  darkness  which 
cause  alarm.  Every  terrifying  vision  vanishes  when  one 
gazes  at  it  firmly.  With  the  same  unconcern  and  direct 
ness,  with  which  we  have  hitherto  analysed  every  subject 
that  has  occurred  in  these  addresses,  let  us  look  this 
terror,  too,  in  the  face. 

We  must  assume  either  that  the  being  1  to  whom  at  the 
present  time  the  conduct  of  a  great  part  of  the  world's 
affairs  has  fallen  is  a  truly  great  soul,  or  we  must  assume 
the  contrary  ;  no  third  assumption  is  possible.  In  the 
first  case  :  on  what  is  all  human  greatness  based,  if  not 
on  the  independence  and  originality  of  the  person  and 
on  the  fact  that  the  person  is  not  an  artificial  product  of 
his  age,  but  a  growth  out  of  the  eternal  and  spontaneous 
spirit-world,  which  has  grown  up  just  as  it  is  ?  Is  not 
greatness  based  on  the  fact  that  to  one  person  a  new  and 
individual  view  of  the  universe  has  dawned,  and  that  this 
person  has  the  firm  will  and  the  iron  strength  to  impose 
his  view  on  the  actual  world  ?  But  it  is  quite  impossible 
for  such  a  soul  not  to  honour  in  peoples  and  individuals 
external  to  himself  that  in  which  his  own  internal  great 
ness  consists,  viz.,  independence,  constancy,  and  indivi 
duality  of  existence.  In  proportion  as  the  great  soul  feels 

1  [Napoleon.] 


sure  of  his  own  greatness  and  trusts  thereto,  he  disdains  to 
rule  over  a  people  with  a  wretched  servile  spirit  or  to  be  a 
giant  among  dwarfs  ;  he  disdains  the  thought  that  he  must 
first  degrade  men  in  order  to  rule  over  them  ;  he  is  oppressed 
by  the  sight  of  degeneration  round  about  him.     Not  to 
be   able   to   respect   men   causes  him   pain  ;    but   every 
thing  that  elevates   and   ennobles  his  brother   men  and 
places  them  in  a  worthier  light  is  a  cause  of  satisfaction  to 
his  own  noble  spirit  and  is  his  greatest  delight.     Are  we 
to  believe  that  such  a  soul  would  note  with  displeasure 
that  the  upheavals  which  the  present  times  have  brought 
about  are  being  used  to  arouse  an  ancient  and  honourable 
nation  from  its  deep  slumber — a  nation  that  is  the  stem 
from  which  most  of  the  peoples  of  modern  Europe  have 
sprung,  and  which  is  the  creator  of  them  all — and  to  induce 
it  to  lay  hold  of  a  sure  means  of  preservation  in  order  to 
raise  itself  from  ruin — a  means  which  ensures  at  the  same 
time  that  it  will  never  sink  again,  and  that  it  will  raise 
all  the  other  peoples  along  with  itself  ?     We  are  here  not 
inciting  people  to  riotous  measures  ;  we  are  rather  warning 
people  against  them  as  sure  to  lead  to  ruin.     We  are  , 
pointing  out   a   firm   and  unchangeable   foundation,   on 
which  the  highest  and  purest  morality,  such  as  was  never 
yet  seen  among  men,  may  be  built  up  at  last  for  the  world 
in  one  people  and  assured  for  all  time  to  come,  and  which 
may  thence  be  spread  abroad  among  all  other  peoples. 
We  are  pointing  the  way  to  a  regeneration  of  the  human 
race,  a  way  to  turn  earthly  and  sensuous  creatures  into 
pure  and  noble  spirits.     Does  anyone  think  that  such  a 
proposal  could  be  felt  as  an  insult  by  a  mind  that  is  itself 
pure  and  noble  and  great,  or  by  anyone  who  forms  him 
self  after  that  pattern  ? 

What,  on  the  other  hand,  would  be  the  assumption 
of  those  who  entertained  this  fear  and  admitted  it  by 


their  actions,  and  what  would  they  proclaim  to  all  the 
world  as  their  assumption  ?  They  would  acknowledge 
that  they  believed  we  were  ruled  over  by  an  enemy  of 
mankind,  by  a  very  base  and  petty  Principle,  alarmed  by 
every  stirring  of  independent  strength  and  unable  to 
hear  of  morality,  religion,  or  ennoblement  of  souls  without 
anxiety;  because  nothing  but  the  degradation  of  men, 
their  stupor,  and  their  vices  would  make  his  position 
safe  and  give  him  hope  of  maintaining  himself.  With 
this  belief  of  theirs,  which  would  add  to  our  other  miseries 
the  crushing  shame  of  being  ruled  over  by  such  a  man  as 
this,  are  we  now  forthwith  to  proclaim  ourselves  in  agree 
ment,  and  are  we  to  act  in  accordance  with  it  before  we 
have  clear  proof  that  it  is  true  ? 

Let  us  suppose  the  worst  :  that  they  are  in  the  right 
and  not  we,  who  show  by  our  action  that  we  make  the 
former  assumption.  Is,  then,  the  human  race  really  to 
be  degraded  and  to  go  under  as  a  favour  to  one  man  who 
profits  by  the  fall  and  to  those  who  are  afraid  ?  Is  one, 
whose  heart  bids  him  do  it,  not  to  be  allowed  to  warn 
them  of  destruction  ?  Suppose,  not  only  that  they  were 
in  the  right,  but  that  one  should  resolve,  in  the  sight  of 
this  generation  and  of  posterity,  to  admit  that  they  were 
right  and  to  deliver  aloud  on  one's  self  the  judgment 
just  expressed  ;  what,  then,  would  be  the  greatest 
ultimate  consequence  for  the  unwelcome  warner  ?  Do 
they  know  anything  greater  than  death  ?  This  awaits  us 
all  in  any  case,  and  from  the  beginning  of  humanity 
noble  souls  have  defied  the  danger  of  death  for  the  sake 
of  less  important  matters — for  when  was  there  ever  a 
higher  matter  than  the  present  one  ?  Who  has  the  right 
to  intervene  in  an  undertaking  that  is  begun  with  full 
knowledge  of  this  danger  ? 

195.  Should  there  be  such  people — though  I  hope  not— 


among  us  Germans,  they  would  offer  their  necks  without 
invitation,  without  thanks,  and,  as  I  hope,  without  find 
ing  acceptance,  to  the  yoke  of  spiritual  serfdom.  They 
would  bitterly  revile  their  own  country  in  flattering  its 
oppressor  ;  they  would  think  that  diplomatic,  for  they 
do  not  know  the  mind  of  true  greatness,  but  measure  its 
thoughts  by  the  thoughts  suggested  by  their  own  petti 
ness  ;  thus  they  would  make  use  of  literature,  for  which 
they  know  no  other  use,  to  pay  their  court  by  slaughtering 
it  as  a  sacrificial  victim.  We,  on  the  other  hand,  praise 
the  greatness  of  the  soul,  with  whom  power  lies,  much 
more  by  the  fact  of  our  confidence  and  our  courage  than 
words  could  ever  do.  Throughout  the  entire  domain  of 
the  whole  German  language,  wherever  our  voice  rings  out 
free  and  unrestrained,  it  thus  invokes  Germans  by  the 
very  fact  of  its  existence  :  No  one  wants  your  oppression, 
your  servility,  your  slavish  subjection  ;  but  your  indepen 
dence,  your  true  freedom,  your  elevation,  and  your 
ennoblement  are  wanted  ;  for  it  is  not  forbidden  to  discuss 
these  things  openly  with  you  and  to  show  you  the  infall 
ible  means  of  attaining  them.  If  this  voice  finds  a  hear 
ing  and  has  the  result  intended,  it  will  set  up  a  memorial 
of  this  greatness,  and  of  our  faith  in  it,  for  all  centuries 
to  come — a  memorial  which  time  cannot  destroy,  but 
which  will  grow  greater,  and  spread  more  widely,  with  each 
new  generation.  Who  dares  to  set  himself  against  the 
attempt  to  erect  such  a  memorial  ? 

So,  instead  of  consoling  ourselves  for  the  loss  of  our 
independence  with  the  promise  of  a  period  of  bloom  for 
our  literature  in  the  future,  and  instead  of  allowing  our 
selves  to  be  deterred  by  consolations  of  that  kind  from 
seeking  a  means  to  restore  our  independence,  we  prefer 
to  ask  whether  those  Germans,  to  whom  a  kind  of  guardian 
ship  of  literature  has  fallen,  still  allow,  even  in  these  days, 


a  literature  in  the  true  sense  of  the  word  to  the  other 
Germans  who  themselves  write  and  read,  and  whether 
they  consider  that  such  a  literature  is  still  allowed  in 
Germany  or  not.  But  some  decision  will  shortly  have 
to  be  made  as  to  what  they  really  think  about  it. 

196.  After  all,  the  first  thing  that  we  have  to  do,  in 
order  merely  to  maintain  ourselves  in  existence  until  the 
time  comes  for  the  complete  and  thorough  regeneration 
of  our  race,  is  this  ;  to  provide  ourselves  with  character, 
and  to  prove  it  first  of  all  by  thinking  for  ourselves  and 
so  forming  a  firm  opinion  of  our  true  situation  and  of 
the  sure  means  of  improving  it.  The  worthlessness  of 
the  consolation  to  be  derived  from  the  continued  exis 
tence  of  our  language  and  literature  has  been  demon 
strated.  There  are,  however,  other  delusive  views  which 
have  not  yet  been  mentioned  in  these  addresses,  and  which 
hinder  the  formation  of  that  firm  opinion.  It  is  appro 
priate  to  our  purpose  to  consider  these  views  as  well ; 
but  we  reserve  this  subject  for  the  next  address. 



197.  AT  the  end  of  the  preceding  address  we  said  that 
there  were  in  circulation  among  us  a  number  of  worth 
less  thoughts  and  deceptive  theories  as  to  the  affairs  of 
peoples,  and  that  this  prevented  the  Germans  from 
forrrftng  such  a  definite  view  of  their  present  situation 
as  would  .be  in  accordance  with  their  own  special  char 
acteristics.  As  these  vain  phantoms  are  being  held  up 
for  public  veneration  with  great  zeal  just  at  present,  and 
as  they  might  be  embraced  by  many  people  now  that  so 
much  else  has  begun  to  topple  over,  solely  in  order  to  fill 
up  the  places  that  have  become  vacant,  it  seems  appro 
priate  to  our  purpose  to  subject  these  phantoms  to  a 
more  serious  examination  than  their  intrinsic  importance 
would  deserve. 

198.  To  begin  with  and  before  all  things  :  the  first7 
original,  and  truly  natural  boundaries  of  States  are 
beyond  doubt  their  internal  boundaries.  Those  who 
speak  the  same  language  are  joined  to  each  other  by  a 
multitude  of  invisible  bonds  by  nature  herself,  long 
before  any  human  art  begins  ;  they  understand  each  other 

1  [Fichte's  manuscript  of  this  address,  after  having  received  the 
imprimatur  at  the  censor's  office  in  Berlin,  was  mislaid  and  lost.  As  Fichte 
had  meanwhile  burnt  the  loose  sheets  which  he  had  used  in  preparing  the 
address,  he  was  compelled  to  rewrite  it  as  best  he  could.] 



j  and  have  the  power  of  continuing  to  make  themselves 
understood  more  and  more  clearly ;  they  belong  to 
gether  and  are  by  nature  one  and  an  inseparable  whole. 
Such  a  whole,  if  it  wishes  to  absorb  and  mingle  with  itself 
any  other  people  of  different  descent  and  language,  cannot 
do  so  without  itself  becoming  confused,  in  the  beginning 
at  any  rate,  and  violently  disturbing  the  even  progress 
ofJts__jui!t«^er^>From  this  internal  boundary,  which  is 

/  drawn  by  the  spiritual  nature  of  man  himself,  the  marking 
of  the  external  boundary  by  dwelling-place  results  as 
a  consequence  ;  and  in  the  natural  view  of  things  it  is 
not  because  men  dwell  between  certain  mountains  and 
rivers  that  they  are  a  people,  but,  on  the  contrary,  men 
dwell  together — and,  if  their  luck  has  so  arranged  it, 
are  protected  by  rivers  and  mountains — because  ( they 
were  a  people  already  by  a  law  of  nature  which  is  much 

199.  Thus  was  the  German  nation  placed — sufficiently 
united  within  itself  by  a  common  language  and  a  common 
way  of  thinking,  and  sharply  enough  severed  from  the 
other  peoples — in  the  middle  of  Europe,  as  a  wall  to 
divide  races  not  akin.  The  German  nation  was  numerous 
and  brave  enough  to  protect  its  boundaries  against 
any  foreign  attack  ;  it  was  left  to  itself,  and  by  its  whole 
way  of  thinking  was  little  inclined  to  take  notice  of  the 
neighbouring  peoples,  to  interfere  in  their  affairs,  or  to 
provoke  them  to  enmity  by  disturbances.  As  time  went 
on,  a  kind  fortunejpreserved  it  fcom-dixect  participation 
in  the  Conquest  of  other  worlds — that  event  which,  more 
than  any  other7~has  been  the  basis  of  the  development 
taken  by  modern  world-history,  of  the  fates  of  peoples, 
and  of  the  largest  part  of  their  ideas  and  opinions.  Since 
that  event,  and  not  before,  Christian  Europe,  which 
hitherto,  without  being  clearly  conscious  of  it,  had  been 


one,  and  by  joint  enterprises  had  shown  itself  to  be  one — 
Christian  Europe,  I  say,  split  itself  into  various  separate 
parts.  Since  that  event,  and  not  before,  there  was  a 
prey  in  sight  which  anyone  might  obtain  ;  and  each  one 
lusted  after  it  in  the  same  way,  because  all  were  able  to 
make  use  of  it  in  the  same  way  ;  and  each  one  was  envious 
on  seeing  it  in  the  hands  of  another.  Now,  and  not 
before,  was  there  a  reason  for  secret  enmity  and  lust  for 
war  on  the  part  of  all  against  all.  Moreover,  now,  and 
not  before,  did.it_become  profitable  for  peoples  to  incor 
porate  with  themselves  peoples  of  other  descent  and  other 
languages,  by  conquest  or,  if  that  were  not  possible,  by 
alliances,  and  to  appropriate  their  forces.  A  people 
that  has  remained  true  to  nature  may  have  the  wish, 
when  its  abode  becomes  too  narrow  for  it,  to  enlarge 
it  by  conquest  of  the  neighbouring  soil  in  order  to  gain 
more  room,  and  then  it  will  drive  out  the  former  inhabi 
tants.  It  may  have  the  wish  to  exchange  a  harsh  and 
unfruitful  region  for  a  milder  and  more  fortunate  one, 
and  in  this  case,  too,  it  will  drive  out  the  former  owners. 
It  may,  if  it  should  degenerate,  undertake  mere  pillaging 
raids  in  which,  without  craving  after  the  soil  or  its 
inhabitants,  it  merely  takes  possession  of  every  useful 
thing,  sweeps  the  countries  clear  and  then  departs. 
Finally,  it  may  regard  the  former  inhabitants  of  the 
conquered  soil  as  one  of  the  useful  things  and  allot  them 
as  slaves  to  individuals.  But,  for  it  to  attach  to  itself  V 
as  a  component  part  of  the  State  the  foreign  population  I 
just  as  it  is,  that  will  not  profit  it  in  the  least,  and  it  will  J 
never  be  tempted  to  do  so. 

But  if  the  case  is  thus  :  that  there  is  a  tempting  com 
mon  prey  to  be  fought  for  and  to  be  won  from  an  equally 
strong  or  even  stronger  rival ;  then  the  calculation  is 
different.  It  matters  not  how  much  or  how  little  the 



conquered  people  may  blend  with  us  ;    we  can  at  any 
rate  make  use  of  their  fists  to  overcome  the  opponent 
we  have  to  rob,  and  every  man  is  welcome  to  us  as  an 
addition   to   our  fighting   strength.     Now,  suppose  that 
some  wise  man,  who  wished  for  peace  and  quiet,  had  had 
his  eyes  opened  to  this  state  of  affairs  ;   from  what  source 
could  he  expect  quiet  to  come  ?     Obviously  not  from 
the  limitation  set  by  nature  to  human  greed,  viz.,  that 
superfluity  is  of  no  benefit  to  anyone  ;    for  there  was  a 
prey  which  tempted  everyone.     Just  as  little  could  he 
expect  peace  to  come  from  the  will  to  set  a  limit  to  one's 
self  ;    for,  where  everyone  grabs  for  himself  everything 
that  he  can,  anyone  who  limits  himself  must  of  necessity 
go  under.     No  one  wants  to  share  with  another  what  he 
then  owns  himself  ;    everyone  wants  to  rob  the  other  of 
what  he  has,  if  he  possibly  can.     If  one  of  them  is  quiet, 
it  is  only  because  he  does  not  think  himself  strong  enough 
to  begin  a  quarrel ;    he  will  certainly  begin  it  as  soon  as 
he  perceives  the  necessary  strength  in  himself. 
'   Hence,  the. only  mean*  of  maintaining  peace  is  this  : 
that  no  one  shall  acquire  enough  power  to  be  able  to 
disturb   the  peace,   and  that  each  one  shall  know  that 
there  is  just  as  much  strength  to  resist  on  the  other  side 
as  there  is  to  attack  on  his  side  ;    and  that  thus  there 
may  arise  a  balance  and  counterbalance  of  the  total  power, 
whereby  alone,  now  that  all  other  means  have  vanished, 
each  one  is  kept  in  possession  of  what  he  has  at  present 
and  all  are  kept  in  peace.     This  well-known  system  of 
a  balance  jrf  power  in  Europe,  therefore,  assumes  two 
things  :   first,  a  prey  to  which  no  one  at  all  has  any  right, 
but  for  which  all  have  a  like  desire  ;    and  second,  the 
universal,  ever-present,   and  unceasingly  active  lust  for 
booty.     Indeed,   on  these  assumptions,   this  balance  of 
power  would  be  the  only  means  of  maintaining  peace, 


if  only  one  could  find  the  second  means,  namely,  that  of 
creating  the  equilibrium  and  transforming  it  from  an 
empty  thought  into  a  thing  of  reality. 

200.  But  were  these  assumptions  in  fact  to  be  made 
universally  and  without  any  exception  ?  Had  not  the 
mighty  German  nation,  in  the  middle  of  Europe,  kept 
its  hands  off  this  prey,  and  was  it  not  untainted  by  any 
craving  for  it,  and  almost  incapable  of  making  a  claim  to 
it  ?  If  only  the  German  nation  had  remained  united,  ~ 
with  a  common  will  and  a  common  strength  !  Then, 
though  the  other  Europeans  might  have  wanted  to  murder 
each  other  on  every  sea  and  shore,  and  on  every  island 
too,  in  the  middle  of  Europe  the  firm  wall  of  the  Germans 
would  have  prevented  them  from  reaching  each  other. 
Here  'peace  would  have  remained,  and  the  Germans 
would  have  maintained  themselves,  and  with  themselves 
also  a  part  of  the  other  European  peoples,  in  quiet  and 

20 1-  Thatjjiings  should  remain  thus  did  not  suit  the 
selfishness  of  foreign  countries,  whose  calculations  did  not 
look  more  than  one  moment  ahead.    They^found  German 
bravery  useful  in  waging  their  wars  and  German   hands 
useful  to  snatch  the  booty  from  their  rivals.     A  means'") 
had  to  be  found  to  attain  this  end,  and  foreign  cunning   I 
won  an  easy  victory  over  German  ingenuousness  and  lack  I 
of  suspicion.     It  was  foreign  countries  which  first  made 
use  of  the  division  of  mind  produced  by  religious  disputes 
in    Germany — Germany,    which    presented    on    a    small 

scale    the    features    of    Christian    Europe    as    a    whole 

foreign  countries,   I  say,  made  use  of  these  disputes  to 
break  up  the  close  inner  unity  of  Germany  into  separate 
and  disconnected  parts.     Foreign  countries  had  already., 
destroyed   their  own   unity  naturally,   by  splitting  into] 
parts  over  a  common  prey  ;     and  now  they  artificially'1 


destroyed  German  unity.     Thev  knew  how  to  present 
each  of  these  separate  States  that  had  thus  arisen  in  the 
lap  of  the  one  nation— which  had  no  enemy  except  those 
foreign  countries  themselves,  and  no  concern  except  the 
common  one  of  setting  itself  with  united  strength  against 
their  seductive  craft  and  cunning— foreign  countries,  I  say, 
knew  how  to  present  each  of  these  States  to  the  others  as  a 
natural  enemy,  against  which  each  State  must  be  perpetu 
ally  on  its  guard.     On  the  other  hand,  they  knew  how  to 
make  themselves  appear  to  the  German  States  as  natural 
allies   against  the  danger  threatening  them  from  their 
own  countrymen— as  allies  with  whom  alone  they  would 
themselves  stand  or  fall,  and  whose  enterprises  they  must 
in  turn  support  with  all  their  might.     It  was  only  be 
cause  of  this  artificial  bond  that  all  the  disputes  which 
might  arise  about  any  matter  whatever  in  the  Old  World 
or  the  New  became  disputes  of  the  German  races  in  their 
relation  to  each  other.     Every  war,  no  matter  what  its 
cause,  had  to  be  fought  out  on  German  soil  and  with 
German  blood  ;    every  disturbance  of  the  balance  had 
to  be  adjusted  in  that  nation  to  which  the  whole  fountain- 
head  of  such  relationships  was  unknown  ;  and  the  German 
States,  whose  separate  existence  was  in  itself  contrary 
to  all  nature  and  reason,  were  compelled,  in  order  ^that 
they  might  count  for  something,  to  act  as  make-weights 
to  the  chief  forces  in  the  scale  of  the  European  equili 
brium,  whose  movement  they  followed  blindly  and  with 
out  any  will  of  their  own.     Just  as  in  many  States  abroad 
the  citizens  are  designated  as  belonging  to  this  or  that 
foreign  party,  or  voting  for  this  or  that  foreign  alliance, 
but  no  name  is  found  for  those  who  belong  to  the  party 
of  their  own  country,  so  it  was  with  the  Germans ;    for 
long  enough  they  belonged  only  to  some  foreign  party 
or  other,  and  one  seldom  came  across  a  man  who  sup- 


ported  the  party  of  the  Germans  and  was  of  the  opinion 
that  this  country  ought  to  make  an  alliance  with  itself. 

202.  This,  then,  is  the  true  origin  and  meaning,  this  the 
result  for  Germany  and  for  the  world,  of  that  notorious 
doctrine  of  a  balance  of  power  to  be  artificially  main 
tained  between  the  European  States.    If  Christian  Europe 
had  remained  one,  as  it  ought  to  be  and  as  it  originally  was, 
there  would  never  have  been  any  occasion  to  think  of  such 
a  thing.     That  which  is  one  rests  upon  itself  and  supports ! 
itself,  and  does  not  split  up  into  conflicting  forces  which^ 
must  be  brought  to  an  equilibrium.     Only  when  Europe 
became    divided    and   without    a   law   did   the    thought 
of    a    balance    acquire   a   meaning   from   necessity.     To  ^ 
this  Europe,  divided  and  without  a  law,  Germany  did  not   \ 
belong.     If  only  Germany  at  any  rate  had  remained  onef^\ 
it  would  have  rested  on  itself  in  the  centre  of  the  civilized  / 
world  like  the  sun  in  the  centre  of  the  universe  ;   it  would jj 
have  kept  itself  at  peace,   and  with  itself  the  adjacent 
countries  ;    and  without  any  artificial  measures  it  would 
have  kept  everything  in  equilibrium  by  the  mere  fact  of 
its  natural  existence.     It  was  only  the  deceit  of  foreign  ~"j 
countries  that  dragged  Germany  into  their  own  lawless-  / 
ness  and  their  own  disputes  ;    it  was  they  who  taught  I 
Germany  the  treacherous  notion  of  the  balance  of  power,  I 
for  they  knew  it  to  be  one  of  the  most  effective  means  of; 
deluding  Germany  as  to  its  own  true  advantage  and  of 
keeping  it  in  that  state  of  delusion.     This  aim  is  now 
sufficiently  attained,  and  the  result  that  was  intended  is 
now  complete  before  our  eyes.    Even  if  we  cannot  do  away 
with  this  result,  why  should  we  not  at  any  rate  extirpate 
the  source  of  it  in  our  own  understanding,  which  is  now 
almost  the  only  thing  over  which  we  still  have  sovereign 
power  ?     Why    should    the    old    dream    still    be    placed 
before  our  eyes,  now  that  disaster  has  awakened  us  from 


sleep  ?  Why  should  we  not  now  at  any  rate  see  the  truth 
and  perceive  the  only  means  that  could  have  saved  us  ? 
Perhaps  our  descendants  may  dp  what  we  see  ought  to 
be.  done,  just  as  we  now  suffer  because  our  fathers  dreamed. 
Let  us  understand  that  the  conception  of  an  equilibrium 
to  be  artificially  maintained  might  have  been  a  consoling 
dream  for  foreign  countries  amid  the  guilt  and  evil  that 
oppressed  them;  but  that  this  conception, being  an  entirely 
foreign  product,  ought  never  to  have  taken  root  in  the  mind 
of  a  German,  and  that  the  Germans  ought  never  to  have 
been  so  situated  that  it  could  take  root  among  them. 
Let  us  understand  that  now  at  any  rate  we  must  perceive 
the  utter  worthlessness  of  such  a  conception,  and  must  see 
that  the  salvation  of  all  is  to  be  found,  not  in  it,  but  solely 
\  in  the  unity  of  the  Germans  among  themselves. 

203.  Just  as  foreign  to  the  German  is  the  freedom  of 
the  .seas,  which  is  so  frequently  preached  in  our  days, 
whether  what  is  intended  be  real  freedom  or  merely  the 
power  to  exclude  everyone  else  from  it.  Throughout  the 
course  of  centuries,  while  all  other  nations  were  in  rivalry, 
the  German  showed  little  desire  to  participate  in  this 
freedom  to  any  great  extent,  and  he  will  never  do  so. 
Moreover,  he  is  Qot  in  need  of  it.  The  abundant  supplies 
of  his  own  land,  together  with  his  own  diligence,  afford 
him  all  that  is  needed  in  the  life  of  a  civilized  man  ;  nor 
does  he  lack  skill  in  the  art  of  making  his  resources  serve 
that  purpose.  As  for  acquiring  the  only  true  advantage 
that  wrorld-trade  brings  in  its  train,  viz.,  the  increase 
in  scientific  knowledge  of  the  earth  and  its  inhabitants, 
his  own  scientific  spirit  will  not  let  him  lack  a  means  of 
exchange.  O,  if  only  his  kindly  fortune  had  preserved 
the  German  from  indirect  participation  in  the  booty  of 
other  worlds,  as  it  preserved  him  from  direct  participa 
tion  !  If  only  we  had  not  been  led  by  our  credulity, 


and  by  the  craving  for  a  life  as  fine  and  as  distingmeone 
as  that  of  other  peoples,  to  make  necessaries  of  the  waiof 
produced  in  foreign  parts  which  we  could  do  without  ; 
if  only  we  had  made  conditions  tolerable  for  our  free 
fellow-citizen  in  regard  to  the  wares  we  can  less  easily 
do  without,  instead  of  wishing  to  draw  a  profit  from  the 
sweat  and  blood  of  a  poor  slave  across  the  seas  !  Then, 
at  any  rate,  we  should  not  ourselves  have  furnished  the 
pretext  for  our  present  fate  ;  war  would  not  have  been 
waged  against  us  as  purchasers,  nor  would  we  have  been 
ruined  because  we  are  a  market-place.  Almost  ten  years 
ago,  before  anyone  could  foresee  what  has  since  happened, 
Germans  were  advised  l  to  make  themselves  inde 
pendent  of  world-trade,  and  to  turn  themselves  into  a 
closed  commercial  State. J  This  proposal  ran  counter  to 
our  habits,  and  especially  to  our  idolatrous  veneration 
of  coined  metals  ;  it  was  passionately  attacked  and 
thrust  aside.  Since  then  we  have  been  learning,  in 
dishonour  and  under  the  compulsion  of  a  foreign  power, 
to  do  without  those  things,  and  far  more  than  those 
things,  which  we  then  protested  we  could  not  do  with 
out,  though  we  might  have  done  so  then  in  freedom 
and  with  the  greatest  honour  to  ourselves.  O,  that  we 
might  seize  this  opportunity,  since  enjoyment  at  least 
is  not  corrupting  us,  to  correct  our  ideas  once  for  all  ! 
O,  that  we  might  at  last  see  that  all  those  swindling 
theories  about  world-trade  and  manufacturing  for  the 
world-market,  though  they  suit  the  foreigner  and  form 
part  of  the  weapons  with  which  he  has  always  made  war 
on  us,  have  no  application  to  the  Germans  ;  and  that, 
next  to  the  unity  of  the  Germans  among  themselves, 
their  internal  autonomy  and  commercial  independence 

1  [In   1800  by  Fichtc  himself,  in  Der  geschlossene  Handelsstaat  (The 
Closed  Commercial  State).] 


r-  the  second  means  for  their_sah£ation,  andjthrough 
anem  for  the  salvation  of  Europe  ! 

204.  Now,  at  last,  let  us  be  bold  enough  to  look  at 
the  deceptive  vision  of  a  universal  jnonarchy,  which 
people"ar^egmning~toTroI3"up  for  public  veneration  in 
place  of  that  equilibrium  which  for  some  time  has  been 
growing  more  and  more  preposterous,  and  let  us  perceive 
how  hateful  and  contrary  to  reason  that  vision  is.  Spiri 
tual  nature  was  able  to  present  the  essence  of  humanity 
in  extremely  diverse  gradations  in  individuals  and  in 
individuality  as  a  whole,  in  peoples.  Only  when  each 
people,  left  to  itself,  develops  and  forms  itself  in  accord 
ance  with  its  own  peculiar  quality,  and  only  when  in 
every  people  each  individual  develops  himself  in  accord 
ance  with  that  common  quality,  as  well  as  in  accordance 
with  his  own  peculiar  quality  —  then,  and  then  only, 
does  the  manifestation  of  divinity  appear  in  its  true 
mirror  as  it  ought  to  be  ;  and  only  a  man  who  either 
entirely  lacks  the  notion  of  the  rule  of  law  and  divine 
order,  or  else  is  an  obdurate  enemy  thereto,  could  take 
upon  himself  to  want  to  interfere  with  that  law,  which 
is  the  highest  law  in  the  spiritual  world.  Only  in  the 
invisible  qualities  of  nations,  which  are  hidden  from 
their  own  eyes  —  qualities  as  the  means  whereby  these 
nations  remain  in  touch  with  the  source  of  original 
life  —  only  therein  is  to  be  found  the  guarantee  of  their 
present  and  future  worth,  virtue,  and  merit.  If  these 
qualities  are  dulled  by  admixture  and  worn  away  by 
friction,  the  L  flatness  ~l:hat  results  will  bring  about  a 
separation  from  spiritual  nature,  and  this  in  its  turn  will 
cause  all  men  to  be  fused  together  to  their  uniform  and 
conjoint  destruction.  As  for  the  writers  who  console  us 
for  alf  our  ills  with  the  prospect  that  we,  too,  shall  be 
subjects  of  the  new  universal  monarchy  that  is  beginning 


—are  we  to  believe  them  when  they  say  that  someone 
or  other  has  decided  upon  such  a  grinding  together  of 
all  the  germs  of  what  is  human  in  humanity,  in  order  to 
press  the  unresisting  dough  into  some  new  form,  and 
that  so  monstrous  an  act  of  brutality  or  enmity  against 
the  human  race  is  possible  in  this  age  of  ours  ?  Even 
if,  in  the  first  place,  we  were  willing  to  make  up  our 
minds  to  believe  such  an  utterly  incredible  thing,  the 
further  question  arises  :  By  what  instrument  is  such  a 
plan  to  be  carried  out  ?  What  sort  of  people  is  it  to 
be  which,  in  the  present  state  of  European  culture,  shall 
conquer  the  world  for  some  new  universal  monarch  ? 
For  many  centuries  now  the  peoples  of  Europe  have  ceased 
to  be  savages  or  to  rejoice  in  destructive  activity  for  its 
own  sake.  All  men  seek  behind  war  a  final  peace,  behind 
exertion  rest,  behind  confusion  order  ;  and  all  men  want 
to  see  their  career  crowned  with  the  peace  of  a  quiet 
and  domestic  life.  For  a  time  they  may  be  made  enthu 
siastic  for  war  even  by  the  mere  prospect  of  advantage 
to  the  nation  ;  but  when  the  call  comes  again  and 
again  in  the  same  fashion,  the  delusion  vanishes  and 
with  it  the  feverish  strength  it  produced.  The  longing 
for  peace  and  order  returns,  and  the  question  arises  : 
For  what  purpose  am  I  doing  and  bearing  all  this  ? 
All  these  feelings  a  world-conqueror  in  our  time  would 
first  have  to  stamp  out  ;  and,  as  the  present  age  by  its 
nature  does  not  produce  a  race  of  savages,  he  would  have 
to  create  one  with  deliberate  art.  But  more  would 
remain  to  be  done.  A  man  who  has  been  accustomed 
from  youth  upwards  to  cultivated  and  settled  countries, 
to  prosperity  and  order,  finds  pleasure  in  these  things 
wherever  he  sees  them,  if  he  is  but  permitted  to  be  at 
peace  for  a  little  while  ;  for  they  represent  to  him  the 
background  of  his  own  longing,  which  after  all  can  never 


be  quite  rooted  out ;  and  it  is  a  source  of  pain  to  himself 
when  he  is  obliged  to  destroy  them.  To  offset  this  kindly 
feeling,  so  deeply  implanted  in  man  as  a  social  being, 
and  this  grief  and  sorrow  at  the  evils  which  the  soldier 
brings  upon  the  countries  he  conquers,  a  counterpoise 
must  be  found.  There  is  no  other  than  the  lust  for 
booty.  If  it  becomes  the  soldier's  dominating  motive  to 
acquire  a  fortune  for  himself,  and  if  he  becomes  accus 
tomed,  when  devastating  flourishing  countries,  to  think 
of  nothing  but  what  he  may  gain  for  himself  from  the 
general  wretchedness,  then  it  is  to  be  expected  that  the 
feelings  of  sympathy  and  pity  will  become  silent  in  him. 
In  addition  to  that  barbarous  brutality,  a  world-con 
queror  of  our  time  would  have  to  train  his  people  to 
coldblooded  and  deliberate  lust  for  booty ;  he  would 
not  have  to  punish  extortions,  but  rather  to  encourage 
them.  Moreover,  the  disgrace  that  naturally  adheres  to 
such  a  thing  would  first  of  all  have  to  be  cleared  away, 
and  robbery  would  have  to  be  looked  upon  as  the  honour 
able  sign  of  a  superior  mind  ;  it  would  have  to  be  reckoned 
among  great  deeds  and  pave  the  way  to  all  dignities  and 
honours.  Where  is  there  in  modern  Europe  a  nation  so 
lacking  in  honour  that  it  could  be  trained  up  in  this  way  ? 
Even  supposing  that  a  world-conqueror  succeeded  in 
reshaping  a  nation  in  this  fashion  ;  the  very  means  he  takes 
to  do  it  will  frustrate  the  attainment  of  his  object.  Such 
a  people  will  thenceforward  regard  the  human  beings, 
the  countries,  and  the  works  of  art  that  they  have  acquired 
by  conquest,  as  nothing  more  than  a  means  of  making 
money  with  all  speed,  so  that  they  may  move  on  and  make 
more  money.  They  will  extort  rapidly,  and  when  they 
have  sucked  the  juice  out  of  a  thing  they  will  throw  it 
away,  regardless  of  what  may  happen  to  it ;  they  will 
cut  down  the  tree  whose  fruits  they  want  to  reach.  For 


a  man  who  works  with  such  tools  as  these  all  the  arts  of 
seduction,  persuasion,  and  deception  will  be  in  vain. 
Only  from  a  distance  can  such  men  deceive  anyone  ;  as 
soon  as  they  are  seen  at  close  quarters,  their  brutal 
roughness  and  their  shameless  and  insolent  lust  for 
booty  will  be  obvious  even  to  the  feeblest  mind ;  and 
the  detestation  of  the  whole  human  race  will  cry  aloud 
upon  them.  With  such  tools  as  these  one  can  indeed 
plunder  and  lay  waste  the  earth,  and  grind  it  down  to 
stupor  and  chaos,  but  one  can  never  establish  it  as  a 
universal  monarchy. 

205.  The  ideas  wre  have  mentioned,  and  all  ideas  of 
this  kind,  are  products  of  a  form  of  thinking  which  merely 
plays  a  game  with  itself  and  sometimes,  too,  gets  caught 
in  its  own  cobwebs — a  form  of  thinking  which  is  unworthy 
of  German  thoroughness  and  earnestness.  At  best, 
some  of  these  ideas,  as,  for  example,  that  of  a  political 
equilibrium,  are  serviceable  guiding-lines  to  enable  one 
to  find  one's  way  about  in  the  extensive  and  confused 
multiplicity  of  phenomena  and  to  set  it  in  order  ;  but 
to  believe  that  these  things  exist  in  nature,  or  to  strive 
to  realize  them,  is  the  same  as  to  expect  to  find  the  poles, 
the  meridians,  and  the  tropics,  by  which  our  survey  of 
the  earth  is  guided,  actually  marked  and  indicated  on  the 
surface  of  the  globe.  May  it  become  the  custom  in  our 
nation,  not  merely  to  think  idly  and  as  it  were  experi 
mentally,  just  to  see  what  will  come  of  it,  but  to  think 
in  such  a  way  that  what  we  think  shall  be  true  and  have 
a  real  effect  in  life  !  Then  it  will  be  superfluous  to  warn 
people  against  such  phantoms  of  a  political  wisdom  whose 
origin  is  foreign  and  which  only  deludes  the  Germans. 

This  thoroughness,  earnestness,  and  weightiness  in 
our  way  of  thinking,  once  we  have  made  it  our  own,  will 
show  itself  in  our  life  as  well.  We  are  defeated ;  whether 


we  are  now  to  be  despised  as  well,  and  rightly  despised, 
whether  in  addition  to  all  other  losses  we  are  to  lose 
our  honour  also — that  will  still  depend  on  ourselves. 
The  fight  with  weapons  has  ended  ;  there  arises  now, 
if  we  so  will  it,  the  new  fight  of  principles,  of  morals,  of 

206.  Let  us  give  our  guests  a  picture  of  faithful  devo 
tion  to  friends  and  fatherland,  of  incorruptible  uprightness 
and  love  of  duty,  of  all  civic  and  domestic  virtues,  to  take 
home  with  them  as  a  friendly  gift  from  their  hosts  ; 
for  they  will  return  home  at  last  some  time  or  other. 
Let  us  be  careful  not  to  invite  them  to  despise  us ;  there 
would,  however,  be  no  surer  way  for  us  to  do  this  than  if 
we  either  feared  them  beyond  measure  or  gave  up  our 
own  way  of  life  and  strove  to  resemble  them  in  theirs. 
Be  it  far  from  us  as  individuals  to  be  so  unmannerly  as 
to  provoke  or  irritate  individuals  ;  but,  as  to  the  rest,  our 
safest  measure  will  be  to  go  our  own  way  in  all  things, 
as  if  we  were  alone  with  ourselves,  and  not  to  establish 
any  relation  that  is  not  laid  upon  us  by  absolute  neces 
sity  ;  and  the  surest  means  to  this  will  be  for  each  one 
to  content  himself  with  what  the  old  national  conditions 
are  able  to  afford  him,  to  take  up  his  share  of  the  common 
burden  according  to  his  powers,  but  to  look  upon  any 
favour  from  foreigners  as  a  disgrace  and  a  dishonour. 
Unfortunately,  it  has  become  an  almost  general  European 
custom,  and  therefore  a  German  custom  too,  for  people 
to  prefer  to  descend  to  the  level  of  others,  rather  than 
to  appear  what  is  called  singular  or  noticeable,  when  the 
choice  is  open  to  them  ;  indeed,  the  whole  system  of 
what  are  esteemed  good  manners  may  perhaps  be  regarded 
as  based  upon  that  one  principle.  Let  us  Germans  at 
the  present  juncture  offend  rather  against  this  code  of 
manners  than  against  something  higher.  Let  us  remain 


as  we  are,  even  though  that  may  be  an  offence  of  this 
kind ;  nay,  let  us  become,  if  we  can,  even  stronger  and 
more  determined,  as  we  ought  to  be.  It  is  the  custom  to 
tell  us  that  we  are  sorely  lacking  in  quickness  and  ease  and 
grace,  and  that  we  grow  too  serious,  too  heavy,  and  too 
ponderous  over  everything.  Let  us  not  be  in  the  least 
ashamed  of  this,  but  rather  strive  to  deserve  the  accusa 
tion  more  and  more  fully  and  to  an  ever  greater  extent. 
Let  us  confirm  ourselves  in  this  resolve  by  the  conviction, 
which  is  easily  to  be  attained,  that  in  spite  of  all  the 
trouble  we  take,  we  shall  never  do  right  in  the  eyes  of 
our  accusers,  unless  we  cease  entirely  to  be  ourselves, 
which  is  the  same  thing  as  ceasing  to  exist  at  all.  There 
are  certain  peoples  who,  while  preserving  their  own  special 
characteristics  and  wishing  to  have  them  respected  by 
others,  yet  recognize  the  special  characteristics  of  other 
peoples,  and  permit  and  encourage  their  retention.  To 
such  peoples  the  Germans  belong  without  a  doubt  ;  and 
this  trait  is  so  deeply  marked  in  their  whole  life  in  the 
world,  both  past  and  present,  that  very  often,  in  order 
to  be  just  both  to  contemporary  foreign  countries  and  to 
antiquity,  they  have  been  unjust  to  themselves.  Then 
there  are._other  peoples,  whose  ego  is  so  closely  wrapped 
up  in  itself  that  it  never  allows  them  the  freedom  to 
detach  themselves  for  the  purpose  of  taking  a  cool  and 
calm  view  of  what  is  foreign  to  them,  and  who  are  there 
fore  compelled  to  believe  that  there  is  only  one  possible 
way  of  existence  for  a  civilized  human  being,  and  that  is 
always  the  way  which  some  chance  or  other  has  indicated 
to  them  alone  at  the  time  ;  the  rest  of  mankind  all  over 
the  world  have  no  other  destiny,  in  their  opinion,  than  to 
become  just  what  they  are,  and  ought  to  be  extremely 
grateful  to  them  if  they  take  upon  themselves  the  trouble 
of  moulding  them  in  this  way.  Between  peoples  of  the  , 


former  type  there  takes  place  an  interaction  of  culture 
and  education  which  is  most  beneficial  to  the  develop 
ment  of  man  as  such,  and  an  interpenetration  which  none 
the  less  allows  each  one,  with  the  goodwill  of  the  other, 
to  remain  its  own  self.     Peoples  of  the  latter  type  are 
unable  to  form  anything,  for  they  are  unable  to  apprehend 
anything  in  its  actual  state  of  existence  ;    they  only  want 
to  destroy  everything  that  exists   and  to  create  every 
where,  except  in  themselves,  a  void  in  which  they  can 
reproduce   their   own   image    and   never    anything   else. 
Even  their  apparent  acceptance  of  foreign  ways  when 
they  begin  is  only  gracious  condescension  on  the  part  of 
the  tutor  to  the  still  feeble  but  promising  pupil.     Even 
the  figures  of  the  ancient  world  that  has  come  to  an  end 
do  not  please  them,  until  they  have  clad  them  in  their  own 
garments ;  and  they  would  call  them  from  their  graves, 
if  they  had  the  power,  to  train  them  after  their  own 
fashion.     Far  from  me  be  the  presumption  of  accusing 
any  existing  nation  as  a  whole  and  without  exception  of 
such   narrow-mindedness.      Let   us   rather   assume   that 
here,  too,  those  who  express  no  opinion  are  the  better 
sort.     But  if  those  who  have  appeared  among  us  and 
expressed  their  opinions  are  to  be  judged  by  the  opinions 
they  have  expressed,  it  seems  to  follow  that  they  are  to 
be  placed  in   the   class  we  have   described.     As  such   a 
statement  appears  to  require  proof,  I  adduce  the  following, 
passing  over  in  silence  the  other  manifestations  of  this 
spirit  which  are  before  the  eyes  of  Europe.     We  have 
been  at  war  with  each  other  ;    as  for  us,  we  are  defeated, 
and  they  are  the  victors  ;    that  is  true,  and  is  admitted  ; 
with  that  our  opponents  might  doubtless  be  contented. 
But  if  anyone  among  us  went  on  to  maintain  that  never 
theless  we  had  had  the  just  cause  and  deserved  the  victory, 
and  that  it  was  to  be  deplored  that  victory  had  not  fallen 


to  us  ;  would  this  be  so  very  wrong,  and  could  those 
opponents,  who,  of  course,  for  their  own  part  may  likewise 
think  what  they  will,  take  it  amiss  that  we  should  be  of 
this  opinion  ?  But  no,  we  must  not  dare  to  think  that. 
We  must  at  the  same  time  recognize  how  wrong  it  is 
ever  to  have  a  will  other  than  theirs,  and  to  resist  them  ; 
we  must  bless  our  defeats  as  the  best  thing  that  could 
happen  to  us,  and  bless  them  as  our  greatest  benefactors. 
It  cannot  be  otherwise,  and  they  hope  this  much  of  our 
good  sense.  But  why  should  I  go  on  expounding  what 
was  expounded  with  great  exactness  almost  two  thousand 
years  ago,  for  example,  in  the  Histories  of  Tacitus  ? 
That  opinion  of  the  Romans  as  to  the  relationship  of 
the  conquered  barbarians  towards  them,  an  opinion  which 
in  their  case  was  founded  on  a  view  of  things  that  had 
some  excuse,  the  opinion  that  it  was  criminal  rebellion 
and  insurrection  against  divine  and  human  laws  to  offer 
resistance  to  them,  and  that  their  arms  could  bring 
nothing  but  blessing  to  the  nations,  and  their  chains 
nothing  but  honour — it  is  this  opinion  that  has  been 
formed  about  us  in  these  days  ;  with  great  good-nature 
they  expect  us  to  hold  it  about  ourselves,  and  they  assume 
in  advance  that  we  do  hold  it.  I  do  not  take  these 
utterances  as  evidence  of  arrogance  and  scorn  ;  I  can 
understand  how  such  opinions  may  be  held  in  earnest 
by  people  who  are  very  conceited  and  narrow-minded, 
and  how  they  can  honestly  impute  the  same  belief  to 
their  opponents,  just  as  I  believe  that  the  Romans  really 
thought  so  ;  but  I  only  raise  a  doubt  as  to  whether  those 
among  us,  whose  conversion  to  that  way  of  thinking  is 
for  ever  impossible,  can  reckon  upon  an  agreement  of 
any  kind  whatever. 

207.  We  shall  bring  the  deep  contempt  of  foreigners 
upon  ourselves  if  in  their  hearing  we  accuse  each  other, 


German  races,  classes,  and  persons,  of  being  responsible 
for  the  fate  that  has  befallen  every  one  of  us,  and  bitterly 
and  passionately  reproach  each  other.  In  the  first  place, 
all  accusations  of  this  kind  are  for  the  most  part  unfair, 
unjust,  and  unfounded.  The  causes  that  have  brought 
about  Germany's  latest  doom  we  have  already  indicated  ; 
these  causes  have  for  centuries  been  native  to  all  German 
races  without  exception  in  the  same  way  ;  the  latest 
events  are  not  the  consequences  of  any  particular  error 
of  any  one  race  or  its  government  ;  they  have  been  in 
preparation  long  enough,  and  might  just  as  well  have 
happened  to  us  long  ago,  if  it  had  depended  solely  on 
the  causes  that  lie  within  our  own  selves.  In  this  matter 
the  guilt  or  innocence  of  all  is,  one  may  say,  equally 
great,  and  a  reckoning  is  no  longer  possible.  When  the 
final  result  came  about  in  haste,  it  was  found  that  the 
separate  German  States  did  not  even  know  themselves, 
their  powers,  and  their  true  situation  ;  how,  then,  could 
any  one  of  them  have  the  presumption  to  look  beyond  its 
own  borders  and  pronounce  upon  the  guilt  of  others  a 
final  judgment  based  on  thorough  knowledge  ? 

208.  It  may  be  that  in  every  race  of  the  German 
fatherland  the  blame  falls  with  more  reason  on  one 
special  class,  not  because  it  did  not  have  more  insight  or 
greater  ability  than  all  the  others,  for  in  that  respect 
all  were  equally  to  blame,  but  because  it  pretended  that 
it  had  more  insight  and  greater  ability,  and  kept  everyone 
else  away  from  the  work  of  administration  in  the  various 
States.  But,  even  if  a  reproach  of  this  kind  were  well 
founded,  who  is  to  utter  it,  and  why  is  it  necessary  to 
utter  and  discuss  it,  just  at  this  moment,  more  loudly 
and  more  bitterly  then  ever  ?  We  see  that  men  of  letters 
are  doing  this.  If  they  spoke  just  as  they  do  now  in  the 
days  when  all  power  and  all  authority  were  in  the  hands  of 


that  class,  with  the  tacit  approval  of  the  decisive  majority 
of  the  rest  of  mankind,  who  can  object  if  they  bring  to 
remembrance  what  they  then  said,  now  that  it  has  been 
only  too  well  confirmed  by  experience  ?  We  hear  also 
that  they  bring  certain  persons  by  name  before  the 
tribunal  of  the  people,  persons  who  formerly  stood  at 
the  head  of  affairs,  that  they  set  forth  their  incapacity, 
their  indolence,  and  their  evil  will,  and  clearly  show  how 
from  such  causes  such  effects  were  bound  to  follow.  If, 
when  power  was  still  in  the  hands  of  the  accused  persons, 
and  when  the  evils  that  were  the  inevitable  result  of 
their  administration  could  have  been  warded  off,  these 
writers  saw  what  they  now  see  and  expressed  it  just  as 
loudly  ;  if  they  then  accused  with  the  same  vigour  those 
whom  they  now  find  guilty,  and  if  they  left  no  means 
untried  to  rescue  the  fatherland  out  of  their  hands, 
and  if  no  one  listened  to  them  ;  then,  they  do  well  to 
recall  to  mind  the  warning  that  was  scornfully  rejected. 
But,  if  they  have  derived  their  present  wisdom  only  from 
the  course  of  events,  from  which  all  people  since  then 
have  derived  with  them  exactly  the  same  wisdom,  why 
do  they  now  say  what  everyone  else  now  knows  just  as 
well  ?  Or  further,  if  in  those  days  from  motives  of  gain 
they  flattered,  or  from  motives  of  fear  they  remained 
silent  before,  that  class  and  those  persons  on  whom,  now 
that  they  have  lost  powder,  they  pour  the  full  stream  of 
denunciation  ;  then,  let  them  not  forget  henceforth,  when 
they  are  stating  the  causes  of  our  present  miseries,  to 
put  with  the  nobility  and  the  incompetent  ministers  and 
generals  the  writers  on  politics  also,  who  know  only  after 
the  event  what  ought  to  have  been  done,  just  like  the 
common  people,  and  who  flatter  the  holders  of  power, 
but  with  malicious  joy  deride  the  fallen  ! 

Or  do  they  blame  the  errors  of  the  past,  which  for  all 



their  blame  is  indestructible,  only  in  order  that  they  may 
not  be  repeated  in  the  future  ;  and  is  it  solely  their  zeal 
to  bring  about  a  thorough  improvement  in  human  affairs 
which  makes  them  so  bold  in  disregarding  all  considera 
tions  of  prudence  and  decency  ?  Gladly  would  we  credit 
them  with  such  goodwill,  if  only  they  were  entitled  by 
thorough  insight  and  thorough  understanding  to  have 
goodwill  in  this  matter.  It  is  not  so  much  the  particular 
persons  who  happen  to  have  been  in  the  highest  places, 
but  the  connection  and  complication  of  the  whole,  the 
whole  spirit  of  the  age,  the  errors,  the  ignorance,  shallow- 
ness,  timidity,  and  the  uncertain  tread  inseparable  from 
these  things,  it  is  the  whole  way  of  life  of  the  age  that  has 
brought  these  miseries  upon  us ;  and  so  it  is  far  less  the 
persons  who  have  acted  than  the  places  ;  it  is  everyone's 
fault  ;  and  everyone,  even  the  violent  fault-finders 
themselves,  may  assume  with  great  probability  that  if 
they  had  been  in  the  same  place  they  would  have  been 
forced  by  their  surroundings  to  much  the  same  end. 
Let  us  not  dream  so  much  of  deliberate  wickedness  and 
treachery  !  Stupidity  and  indolence  are  in  nearly  every 
case  sufficient  to  explain  the  things  that  have  happened  ; 
and  this  is  a  charge  of  which  no  one  should  entirely  clear 
himself  without  searching  self-examination.  Especially  in 
a  state  of  affairs  where  there  is  in  the  whole  mass  a  very 
great  fneasure  of  indolence,  the  individual  who  is  to  force 
his  way  through  must  possess  the  power  of  action  in  a 
very  high  degree.  So,  even  if  the  mistakes  of  individuals 
are  ever  so  sharply  singled  out,  that  does  not  in  any  way 
lay  bare  the  cause  of  the  evil ;  nor  is  this  cause  removed  by 
avoiding  these  mistakes  in  future.  So  long  as  men  remain 
liable  to  error,  they  cannot  do  otherwise  than  commit 
errors ;  and  even  if  they  avoid  those  of  their  predecessors, 
in  the  infinite  space  of  liability  to  error  they  will  all  too 


easily  make  new  errors  of  their  own.  Only  a  complete 
regeneration,  only  the  beginning  of  an  entirely  new  spirit 
can  help  us.  If  they  co-operate  for  the  development  of 
this  new  spirit,  we  shall  be  ready  and  willing  to  give 
them  credit,  not  only  for  goodwill,  but  also  for  right  and 
saving  understanding. 

209.  These  mutual  reproaches,  besides  being  unjust 
and  useless,  are  extremely  unwise,  and  must  degrade  us 
deeply  in  the  eyes  of  foreigners ;  we  not  only  make  it 
easy  for  them  to  find  out  all  about  us,  but  positively 
force  the  knowledge  on  them  in  every  way.  If  we  never 
grow  weary  of  telling  them  how  confused  and  stale  all 
things  were  with  us,  and  how  miserably  we  were  governed, 
must  they  not  believe  that  no  matter  how  they  behave 
towards  us  they  are  none  the  less  much  too  good  for  us, 
and  can  never  become  too  bad  ?  Must  they  not  believe 
that,  because  of  our  great  clumsiness  and  helplessness, 
we  are  bound  to  accept  with  the  humblest  thanks  any 
and  every  thing  out  of  the  rich  store  of  their  art  of  govern 
ment,  administration,  and  legislation  that  they  have 
already  presented  to  us,  or  have  in  contemplation  for  us 
in  the  future  ?  Is  there  any  need  for  us  to  confirm  their 
already  not  unfavourable  opinion  of  themselves  and  the 
low  opinion  they  have  of  us  ?  Do  not  certain  utterances, 
which  would  otherwise  have  to  be  taken  as  evidence  of 
bitter  scorn — for  example,  that  they  have  been  the  first 
to  bring  a  fatherland  to  German  countries,  which  previ 
ously  had  none,  or  that  they  have  abolished  that  slavish 
dependence  of  persons,  as  such,  on  other  persons,  which 
used  to  be  established  by  law  among  us — do  not  such 
utterances,  when  we  remember  what  we  ourselves  have 
said,  show  themselves  as  a  repetition  of  our  own  statements 
and  an  echo  of  our  own  flattering  speeches  ?  It  is  a 
disgrace,  which  we  Germans  share  with  no  other  of  the 


European  peoples  whose  fate  in  other  respects  has  been 
similar  to  ours,  that,  as  soon  as  ever  foreign  arms  ruled 
over  us,  we  behaved  as  if  we  had  long  been  awaiting  this 
moment,  and  sought  to  do  ourselves  a  good  turn  quickly, 
before  it  was  too  late,  by  pouring  forth  a  stream  of  denun 
ciation  on  our  governments  and  our  rulers,  whom  we 
had  formerly  flattered  in  a  way  that  offended  against 
good  taste,  and  by  railing  against  everything  represented 
by  the  word  "  fatherland." 

210.  How  shall  those  of  us  who  are  not  guilty  ward  off 
the  disgrace  from  our  heads  and  let  the  guilty  ones  stand 
by  themselves  ?     There  is  a  means.     No  more  scurrilous 
denunciations  will  be  printed  the  moment  it  is  certain 
that  no  more  will  be  bought,  and  as  soon  as  their  authors 
and  publishers  can  no  longer  reckon  on  readers  tempted  to 
buy  them  for  lack  of  something  better  to  do,  by  idle 
curiosity  and  love  of  gossip,  or  by  the  malicious  joy  of 
seeing  those  men  humiliated  who  at  one  time  instilled 
into  them  the  painful  feeling  of  respect.     Let  everyone 
who  feels  the  disgrace  hand  back  with  fitting  contempt  a 
libel  that  is  offered  him  to  read  ;  let  him  do  this,  although 
he  believes  he  is  the  only  one  who  acts  in  this  way,  until 
it  becomes  the  custom  among  us  for  every  man  of  honour 
to  do  the  same  ;   and  then,  without  any  enforcement  of 
restrictions  on  books,  we  shall  soon  be  free  of  this  scanda 
lous  portion  of  our  literature. 

211.  Finally,  we  debase  ourselves  most  of  all  before 
foreigners  when  we  lay  ourselves  out  to  flatter  them. 
In  former  days  certain  persons  among  us  made  themselves 
contemptible,  ludicrous,  and  nauseating  beyond  measure 
by  burning  thick  incense  before  our  own  rulers  on  every 
occasion,  and  by  caring  for  neither  sense  nor  decency, 
neither    taste    nor   good    manners,    when    they   thought 
there   was   a   chance   of   delivering   a   flattering   address. 


This  practice  has  ceased  at  this  time,  and  these  paeans  of 
praise  have  been  transformed  in  some  cases  into  words 
of  abuse.  However,  in  order  not  to  get  out  of  practice, 
as  it  were,  we  gave  our  clouds  of  incense  another  direction 
and  turned  them  towards  the  place  where  power  now 
resides.  Even  the  old  way — and  not  only  the  flattery 
itself,  but  also  the  fact  that  it  was  not  declined — could 
not  but  give  pain  to  every  serious-minded  German  ; 
still,  we  kept  it  to  ourselves.  Are  we  now  going  to  make 
foreigners  also  the  witnesses  of  this  base  craving  of  ours, 
and  of  the  great  clumsiness  with  which  we  give  vent  to  it  ; 
and  are  we  thus  going  to  add  to  the  contemptible  exhibi 
tion  of  our  baseness  the  ludicrous  demonstration  of  our 
lack  of  adroitness?  For,  when  we  set  about  these  things, 
we  are  lacking  in  all  the  refinement  that  the  foreigner 
possesses  ;  so  as  to  avoid  not  being  heard,  we  lay  it  on 
thick  and  exaggerate  everything ;  we  begin  straight 
away  with  deifications  and  place  our  heroes  among  the 
stars.  Another  thing  is  that  we  give  the  impression  of 
being  driven  to  these  paeans  of  praise  chiefly  by  fear  and 
terror  ;  but  there  is  nothing  more  ridiculous  than  a 
frightened  man  who  praises  the  beauty  and  graciousness 
of  a  creature  which  in  fact  he  takes  to  be  a  monster, 
and  which  he  merely  seeks  to  bribe  by  his  flattery  not  to 
swallow  him  up. 

212.  Or  are  these  hymns  of  praise  perhaps  not  flattery, 
but  the  genuine  expression  of  reverence  and  admiration 
which  they  are  compelled  to  pay  to  the  great  genius  who, 
according  to  them,  now  directs  the  affairs  of  mankind  ? 
How  little  they  know,  in  this  case  too,  the  character  of 
true  greatness  !  In  all  ages  and  among  all  peoples  true 
greatness  has  remained  the  same  in  this  respect,  that  it 
was  not  vain  ;  just  as,  on  the  other  hand,  whatever 
displayed  vanity  has  always  been  beyond  a  doubt  base 


and  petty.  True  greatness,  resting  on  itself,  finds  no 
pleasure  in  monuments  erected  by  contemporaries,  or 
in  being  called  "  The  Great,"  or  in  the  shrieking  applause 
and  praises  of  the  mob  ;  rather,  it  rejects  these  things 
with  fitting  contempt,  and  awaits  first  the  verdict  on 
itself  from  its  own  indwelling  judge,  and  then  the  public 
verdict  from  the  judgment  of  posterity.  True  greatness 
has  always  had  this  further  characteristic  :  it  is  filled  with 
awe  and  reverence  in  the  face  of  dark  and  mysterious 
fate,  it  is  mindful  of  the  ever-rolling  wheel  of  destiny, 
and  never  allows  itself  to  be  counted  great  or  happy  before 
its  end.  Hence,  those  who  hymn  its  praises  contradict 
themselves,  and  by  using  words  they  make  their  words  a 
lie.  If  they  believed  that  the  object  of  their  pretended 
veneration  was  really  great,  they  would  humbly  admit 
that  he  was  exalted  above  their  acclamations  and  lauda 
tion,  and  they  would  honour  him  by  reverent  silence. 
By  making  it  their  business  to  praise  him  they  show  that 
in  fact  they  take  him  to  be  petty  and  base,  and  so  vain 
that  their  hymns  of  praise  can  give  him  pleasure,  and 
that  they  hope  thereby  to  divert  some  evil  from  them 
selves,  or  procure  themselves  some  benefit. 

That  cry  of  enthusiasm  :  "  What  a  sublime  genius  ! 
What  profound  wisdom  !  What  a  comprehensive  plan  !  " 
—what  after  all  does  it  mean  when  we  look  at  it  properly  ? 
It  means  that  the  genius  is  so  great  that  we,  too,  can 
fully  understand  it,  the  wisdom  so  profound  that  we,  too, 
can  see  through  it,  the  plan  so  comprehensive  that  we, 
too,  are  able  to  imitate  it  completely.  Hence  it  means 
that  he  who  is  praised  has  about  the  same  measure  of 
greatness  as  he  who  praises  ;  and  yet  not  quite,  for  the 
latter,  of  course,  understands  the  former  fully  and  is 
superior  to  him  ;  hence,  he  stands  above  him  and,  if  he 
only  exerted  himself  thoroughly,  could  no  doubt  achieve 


something  even  greater.  He  must  have  a  very  good 
opinion  of  himself  who  believes  that  he  can  pay  court 
acceptably  in  this  way  ;  and  the  one  who  is  praised  must 
have  a  very  low  opinion  of  himself  if  he  finds  pleasure  in 
such  tributes. 

213.  No!  Good,  earnest,  steady  German  men  and 
countrymen,  far  from  our  spirit  be  such  a  lack  of  under 
standing,  and  far  be  such  defilement  from  our  language, 
which  is  formed  to  express  the  truth.  Let  us  leave  it 
to  foreigners  to  burst  into  jubilation  and  amazement 
at  every  new  phenomenon,  to  make  a  new  standard  of 
greatness  every  decade,  to  create  new  gods,  and  to  speak 
blasphemies  in  order  to  please  human  beings.  Let  our  A 
standard  of  greatness  be  the  old  one  :  that  alone  is  great 
which  is  capable  of  receiving  the  ideas  which  always  bring 
nothing  but  salvation  upon  the  peoples,  and  which  is 
inspired  by  those  ideas.  But,  as  regards  the  living,  let  ' 
us  leave  the  verdict  to  the  judgment  of  posterity. 



214.  IN  the  addresses  which  I  conclude  to-day,  I  have 
spoken  aloud  to  you  first  of  all,  but  I  have  had  in  view 
the  whole  German  nation,  and  my  intention  has  been  to 
gather  round  me,  in  the  room  in  which  you  are  bodily 
present,  everyone  in  the  domain  of  the  German  language 
who  is  able  to  understand  me.     If  I  have  succeeded  in 
throwing  into  any  heart  which  has  beaten  here  in  front  of 
me  a  spark  which  will  continue  to  glow  there  and  to 
influence  its  life,  it  is  not  my  intention  that  these  hearts  ••< 
should  remain  apart  and  lonely  ;   I  want  to  gather  to  them_ 
from  over  the  whole  of  our  common  soil  men  of  similaii    v 
sentiments  and 'resolutions,  and  to  link   them  together]  f 
so  that  at  this  central  point  a:  single,  continumis/7nd 
tmceaslflg^rlame  ot  patriotic  disposition  may  be^kmdled, 
wliidi  Will  spread  over  the  whole  soil  of  "the '"fatherianS 
to  its  utmost  boundaries^ These  addresses  have  not  been 
meant  for  the  entertainment  of  indolent  ears  and  eyes 
in  the  present  age  ;   on  the  contrary,  I  want  to  know  once 
for  all,  and  everyone  of  like  disposition  shall  know  it  with 
me,  whether  there  is  anyone  besides  ourselves  whose  way^of__ 
thinking  is  akin  to  ours.     Every  German  who  still  believes 
himself  to  be  a  member  of  a  nation,  who  thinks  highly 
and  nobly  of  that  nation,  hopes  for  it,  ventures,  endures, 
and  suffers  for  it,  shall  at  last  have  the  uncertainty  of  his 



belief  removed  ;  he  shall  see  clearly  whether  he  is  right 
or  is  only  a  fool  and  a  dreamer  ;  from  now  on  he  shall 
either  pursue  his  way  with  the  glad  consciousness  of 
certainty,  or  else  firmly  and  vigorously  renounce  a 
fatherland  here  below,  and  find  in  the  heavenly  one  his 
only  consolation.  To  them,  not  as  individuals  in  our 
everyday  limited  life,  but  as  representatives  of  the  nation, 
and  so  through  their  ears  to  the  whole  nation,  these 
addresses  make  this  appeal  :— 

215.  Centuries  have  come  and  gone  since  you  were  last 
convoked  as  you  are  to-day  ;  in  such  numbers  ;  in  a  cause 
so  great,  so  urgent,  and  of  such  concern  to  all  and  every 
one  ;  so  entirely  as  a  nation  and  as  Germans.  Never 
again  will  the  offer  come  to  you  in  this  way.  If  you  now 
take  no  heed  and  withdraw  into  yourselves,  if  you  again 
let  these  addresses  go  by  you  as  if  they  were  meant  merely 
to  tickle  your  ears,  or  if  you  regard  them  as  something 
strange  and  fabulous,  then  no  human  being  will  ever  take 
you  into  account  again.  Hearken  nowr  at  last  ;  reflect 
now  at  last.  Go  not  from  your  place  this  time  at  least 
without  first  making  a  firm  resolution  ;  and  let  everyone 
who  hears  my  voice  make  this  resolution  by  himself  and 
for  himself,  just  as  if  he  were  alone  and  had  to  do  everything 
alone.  If  very  many  individuals  think  in  this  way,  there 
will  soon  be  formed  a  large  community  which  will  be 
fused  into  a  single  close-connected  force.  But  if,  on  the 
contrary,  each  one,  leaving  himself  out,  puts  his  hope  in 
the  rest  and  leaves  the  matter  to  others,  then  there  will 
be  no  others,  and  all  together  will  remain  as  they  were 
before.  Make  it  on  the  spot,  this  resolution.  Do  not 
say  :  "  Let  us  rest  a  little  longer,  let  us  sleep  and  dream  a 
little  longer,  till  the  improvement  comes  of  itself."  It 
will  never  come  of  itself.  He  who  has  once  let  yesterday 
go  by,  which  would  have  been  a  more  convenient  time 


for  reflection,  and  yet  cannot  use  his  will  to-day,  will  be 
still  less  able  to  do  so  to-morrow.  Every  delay  makes  us 
all  the  more  indolent,  and  cradles  us  still  more  deeply 
in  the  habit  of  familiarity  with  our  wretched  condition. 
Then,  too,  the  external  motives  to  reflection  can  never  be 
stronger  or  more  urgent.  He  who  is  not  aroused  by  the 
present  situation  has  beyond  a  doubt  lost  all  power  of 
feeling.  You  are  convoked  to  make  a  firm  and  final  resolu 
tion  and  decision ;  and  in  no  wise  to  give  a  command,  an 
order,  an  incitement  to  others,  but  an  incitement  to  your 
selves.  You  must  make  a  resolution  of  a  kind  which  each 
one  can  carry  out  only  by  himself  and  in  his  own  person. 
In  this  matter  the  leisurely  indication  of  an  intention  does 
not  suffice,  nor  the  will  to  exert  a  will  at  some  future 
time,  nor  yet  the  indolent  resolve  to  submit  some  time 
or  other  to  what  is  proposed,  if  one  should  meanwhile  of 
one's  self  have  become  a  better  man.  No,  you  are  called 
upon  to  make  a  resolve  that  will  itself  be  part  of  your 
life,  a  resolve  that  is  itself  a  deed  within  you,  that  endures 
there  and  continues  to  hold  sway  without  being  moved  or 
shaken,  a  resolve  that  never  grows  cold,  until  it  hasj 
attained  its  object. 

216.  Or  is,  perchance,  the  root,  from  which  alone  such 
a  resolution  can  spring  and  have  an  influence  on  life, 
completely  destroyed,  and  has  it  disappeared  ?  Is  your 
whole  being  in  truth  and  in  fact  thinned  and  reduced 
to  an  empty  shadow,  without  sap  and  blood  and  power 
of  motion  ;  reduced  to  a  dream  in  which  bright  visions 
are  begotten  and  busily  pursue  each  other,  but  where  the 
body  lies  stiff  and  as  it  were  dead  ?  This  age  has  long  been 
told  to  its  face,  and  has  heard  it  repeated  in  every  shape 
and  form,  that  this  or  something  like  it  is  the  general 
opinion.  Its  spokesmen  have  believed  that  people  who 
said  this  only  wanted  to  slander  them,  and  have  regarded 


it  as  a  challenge  to  themselves  to  slander  in  return, 
supposing  that  the  natural  order  of  things  would  thereby 
be  restored.  Yet  there  has  not  been  the  least  trace  of 
any  alteration  or  improvement.  But  if  you  have  under 
stood  the  indictment,  if  it  has  succeeded  in  making  you 
indignant,  then  by  your  acts  give  the  lie  to  those  who 
think  and  speak  thus  of  you  ;  show  before  the  eyes  of 
all  the  world  that  you  are  different,  and  then  those  men 
in  the  eyes  of  all  the  world  will  be  convicted  of  untruth. 
Perchance  it  was  precisely  with  the  intention  of  being 
refuted  by  you  in  this  way,  and  because  they  despaired 
of  any  other  means  of  rousing  you,  that  they  spoke  of 
you  as  harshly  as  they  did.  If  that  was  the  case,  how 
much  better  disposed  towards  you  they  were  than  those 
who  flatter  you,  in  order  that  you  may  be  kept  in  sloth 
and  quietude  and  all-unheeding  thoughtlessness  ! 

However  weak  and  powerless  you  may  be,  never  before 
has  clear  and  calm  reflection  been  made  so  easy  for  you  as 
at  the  present  time.  The  thing  that  really  plunged  us 
into  confusion  as  to  our  position,  that  caused  our  thought 
lessness,  our  blind  acquiescence  in  all  that  happened,  was 
our  sweet  self-satisfaction  ;  we  were  satisfied  with  our 
selves  and  our  way  of  life.  Things  had  gone  on  all  right 
hitherto  and  continued  to  go  on  just  the  same.  If  anyone 
challenged  us  to  reflection,  we  triumphantly  pointed  out 
to  him,  in  place  of  any  other  refutation,  our  existence  and 
continuance,  which  came  about  without  any  reflection 
on  our  part.  But  things  went  on  all  right  solely  because 
we  had  not  been  put  to  the  test.  Since  then  we  have  gone 
through  it.  Since  that  time  the  deceptions,  the  illusions, 
the  false  consolation,  by  which  we  all  led  each  other 
mutually  astray,  have  surely  collapsed.  The  inborn 
prejudices  which,  without  proceeding  from  any  one  place, 
spread  themselves  like  a  natural  fog  over  everyone,  and 


enveloped  everyone  in  the  same  twilight — surely  they  have 
vanished  now  !  That  twilight  no  longer  binds  our  eyes ; 
moreover,  it  can  no  longer  serve  us  as  an  excuse.  Here 
we  stand  now,  bare  and  empty,  with  all  external  coverings 
and  hangings  taken  away,  just  as  we  are  ourselves.  Now 
there  must  be  revealed  what  that  self  is  or  is  not. 

217.  Perhaps  someone  may  come  forward  from  among 
you  and  ask  me  :    "  What  gives  you  alone  of  all  German 
men  and  writers  the  special  task,  the  vocation,  and  the 
right   to   assemble  us   and   press  your  views   upon   us  ? 
Would   not   each   one   of   the   thousands   of   Germany's 
men  of  letters  have  just:  as  much  right  to  it  as  you  ? 
Not  one  of  them  does  it,  but  you  alone  thrust  yourself 
forward."     I  answer  that,  of  course,  everyone  would  have 
the  same  right  as  I  have,  that  I  am  doing  it  solely  because 
not  one  of  them  has  done  it  before  me,  and  that  I  would 
be  silent  if  another  had  already  done  it.     This  was  the 
first  step  to  the  goal  of  a  thorough  reformation  ;  someone 
or  other  had  to  take  it.     I  was  the  first  one  to  see  it 
vividly  ;    therefore  it  fell  to  me  to  take  the  first  step. 
After  this  some  other  step  will  be  the  second  ;    all  have 
now  the  same  right  to  take  this  step  ;    but  once  again 
it  will  in  fact  be  one  man,  and  one  man  only,  who  does 
take  it.     There  must  always  be  one  who  is  first ;   then  let 
him  be  first  who  can ! 

218.  Without  troubling  yourselves  about  this  objection, 
let  your  gaze  rest  for  a  little  while  upon  the  view  to  which 
we  have  already  conducted  you,  viz.,  in  what  an  enviable 
condition  Germany  would  be,  and  the  world  as  well,  if 
the  former  had  known  how  to  make  use  of  the  good  for 
tune  due  to  its  position  and  to  recognize  its  advantages. 
Let  your  eye  dwell  upon  what  both  are  now,  and  make 
yourselves  feel  to  the   quick  the  pain   and  indignation 
which    must   seize    every  noble-minded    man   when   he 


beholds  it.  Turn  back  then  to  your  own  selves  and  see 
that  it  is  you  whom  time  will  free  from  the  errors  of  the 
preceding  ages  and  from  whose  eyes  it  will  remove  the 
mist,  if  you  permit  it  ;  that  it  is  granted  to  you,  as  to 
no  generation  before  you,  to  undo  what  has  been  done 
and  to  delete  the  discreditable  intervening  period  from 
the  pages  of  German  history. 

Review  in  your  own  minds  the  various  conditions 
between  which  you  now  have  to  make  a  choice.  If 
you  continue  in  your  dullness  and  helplessness,  all  the 
evils  of  serfdom  are  awaiting  you  ;  deprivations,  humilia 
tions,  the  scorn  and  arrogance  of  the  conqueror  ;  you  will 
be  driven  and  harried  in  every  corner,  because  you  are 
in  the  wrong  and  in  the  way  everywhere ;  until,  by  the 
sacrifice  of  your  nationality  and  your  language,  you  have 
purchased  for  yourselves  some  subordinate  and  petty 
place,  and  until  in  this  way  you  gradually  die  out  as  a 
people.  If,  on  the  other  hand,  you  bestir  yourselves  and 
play  the  man,  you  will  continue  in  a  tolerable  and  hon 
ourable  existence,  and  you  will  see  growing  up  among 
and  around  you  a  generation  that  will  be  the  promise  for 
you  and  for  the  Germans  of  most  illustrious  renown. 
You  will  see  in  spirit  the  German  name  rising  by  means 
of  this  generation  to  be  the  most  glorious  among  all 
peoples ;  you  will  see  this  nation  the  regenerator  and 
re-creator  of  the  world. 

219.  It  depends  on  you  whether  you  want  to  be  the 
end,  and  to  be  the  last  of  a  generation  unworthy  of  respect 
and  certain  to  be  despised  by  posterity  even  beyond  its 
due — a  generation  of  whose  history  (if,  indeed,  there  can 
be  any  history  in  the  barbarism  that  will  then  begin)  your 
descendants  will  read  the  end  with  gladness,  saying  that 
its  fate  was  just  ;  or  whether  you  want  to  be  the  beginning 
and  the  point  of  development  for  a  new  age  glorious 


beyond  all  your  conceptions,  and  the  generation  from  whom 
posterity  will  reckon  the  year  of  their  salvation.  Reflect 
that  you  are  the  last  in  whose  power  this  great  alteration 
lies.  You  have,  even  in  your  day,  heard  the  Germans 
spoken  of  as  one  ;  you  have  seen  or  have  heard  of  a  visible 
sign  of  their  unity,  an  empire  and  an  imperial  federa 
tion  ;  among  you  voices  have  made  themselves  heard 
from  time  to  time  which  were  inspired  by  the  higher 
love  of  fatherland.  Those  who  come  after  you  will 
accustom  themselves  to  other  ideas,  will  adopt  alien 
forms  and  another  way  of  conducting  life  and  affairs  ; 
and  how  long  will  it  be  then  before  there  is  no  one  living 
who  has  seen  or  heard  of  Germans  ? 

220.  What  is  demanded  of  you  is  not  much.  You  are 
only  bidden  to  undertake  to  pull  yourselves  together  for 
a  short  time,  and  to  think  over  that  which  lies  immediately 
and  openly  before  your  eyes.  On  that  alone  you  are  to 
form  a  definite  opinion,  to  remain  true  to  it,  and  utter 
and  express  it  in  your  own  immediate  surroundings. 
It  is  an  assumption,  it  is  our  sure  conviction,  that  the 
result  of  this  thinking  will  prove  to  be  the  same  with  all 
of  you,  and  that,  if  only  you  really  think  and  do  not  go  on 
in  the  old  heedlessness,  you  will  think  alike;  that,  if 
only  you  put  on  the  spirit  and  do  not  remain  on  the  level 
of  mere  vegetable  existence,  unity  and  concord  of  spirit 
will  come  of  itself.  But,  once  that  has  come  about, 
everything  else  that  we  need  will  be  added  to  us  without 
our  seeking. 

Now,  this  effort  of  thought  is  in  fact  demanded  of  each 
one  of  you,  who  is  still  capable  of  thinking  for  himself 
about  a  thing  that  lies  plainly  before  his  eyes.  You  have 
time  for  it  ;  there  is  no  question  of  the  present  moment 
bewildering  you  or  taking  you  by  surprise  ;  the  documents 
recording  the  negotiations  conducted  with  you  still  lie 


before  your  eyes.  Do  not  lay  them  aside  until  you  have 
made  up  your  minds.  Do  not,  O,  do  not  allow  yourselves 
to  relax  by  trusting  in  others  or  in  anything  whatever 
that  lies  outside  yourselves,  nor  yet  by  the  foolish  wisdom 
of  the  time,  which  holds  that  the  ages  make  themselves, 
without  any  human  aid,  by  means  of  some  unknown  force. 
These  addresses  have  not  grown  weary  of  impressing  upon 
you  that  nothing  whatever  can  help  you  except  yourselves ; 
and  they  find  it  necessary  to  repeat  it  up  to  the  last 
moment.  It  may  be  that  rain  and  dew  and  fruitful 
or  unfruitful  seasons  are  made  by  a  force  unknown  to  us 
and  not  in  our  power  ;  but  all  human  relationships,  the 
whole  special  province  of  man,  are  made  only  by  men 
themselves  and  by  absolutely  no  power  outside  them. 
Only  when  they  are  all  equally  blind  and  ignorant  do 
they  fall  victims  to  this  hidden  power  ;  but  it  rests  with 
them  not  to  be  blind  and  ignorant.  It  is  true  that 
the  degree  of  evil,  be  it  greater  or  less,  which  will  befall 
us  may  depend  partly  on  that  unknown  power ;  but  it 
will  depend  very  specially  on  the  understanding  and  good 
will  of  those  to  whom  we  are  subjected.  But  whether 
it  will  ever  go  well  with  us  again  depends  entirely  on 
ourselves ;  and  it  is  certain  that  no  well-being  whatever 
will  come  to  us  again  unless  we  procure  it  for  ourselves, 
and  especially  unless  each  one  of  us,  in  his  own  way, 
acts  and  works  as  if  he  were  alone,  and  as  if  upon  him 
alone  depended  the  salvation  of  generations  to  come. 

221.  This  is  what  you  have  to  do.  These  addresses 
solemnly  appeal  to  you  to  do  it  without  delay. 

To  you,  young  men,  they  solemnly  appeal.  I,  who 
have  long  ceasecTTo"  belong  to  your  ranks,  am  of  the 
opinion,  which  I  have  expressed  in  these  addresses,  that 
you  are  even  more  capable  than  others  of  any  thought 
that  lies  outside  the  common  round,  and  more  susceptible 


to  all  that  is  good  and  vigorous,  because  your  age  lies 
nearer  to  the  years  of  childlike  innocence  and  of  nature. 
Quite  otherwise  is  this  trait  in  you  regarded  by  the  majority 
of  the  older  world.     They  accuse  you  of  arrogance,  of 
hasty  and  presumptuous  judgment  exceeding  your  powers, 
of  always  thinking  yourselves  in  the  right,  of  a  mania  for 
innovation.      Yet  they  only  smile  good-humouredly  at 
these  failings  of  yours.     All  this,  they  think,  is  founded 
solely  on  your  lack  of  knowledge  of  the  world — that  is  to 
say,  of  the  general  state  of  human  corruption ;  for  they  have 
no  eyes  for  anything  else  in  the  world.     You  have  courage 
now,  they  think,  only  because  you  hope  to  find  helpers  of 
like  mind,  and  do  not  know  the  grim  and  stiff-necked 
resistance  which  will  be  offered  to  your  plans  for  the 
better.     Just  wait  a  little  while,  they  say  ;  when  once  the 
youthful  fire  of  your  imagination  has  died  away,  when  you 
have  come  to  learn  the  general  state  of  selfishness,  sloth- 
fulness,  and  dislike  for  work,  when  you  yourselves  have 
once  properly  tasted  the  sweetness  of  going  on  in  an  accus 
tomed  groove,  then  the  desire  and  the  will  to  be  better 
and  cleverer  than  all  the  rest  will  depart  from  you.     This 
good  hope  which  they  have  of  you  is  not  based  on  thin 
air  ;    they  have  found  it  confirmed  in  their  own  person. 
They  must  confess  that  in  the  days  of  their  foolish  youth 
they  dreamed  of  improving  the  world,  just  as  you  do 
now  ;  nevertheless,  as  they  grew  more  mature  they  became 
as  tame   and  peaceful  as  you   see  them   at  present.     I 
believe  them  ;    I  have  myself,  even  in  my  own  not  very 
long  experience,  seen  young  men,  who  at  first  aroused 
other  hopes,  none  the  less  at  a  later  stage  fully  come  up  to 
the  well-meaning  expectations  of  this  age  of  maturity. 
Do  this  no  longer,  young  men  ;   for  if  you  do,  how  can  a 
better  generation  ever  begin  ?     The  glow  of  youth  will, 
it  is  true,  fall  from  you,  and  the  flame  of  your  imagina- 


live  power  will  cease  to  find  nourishment  in  itself  ;  but 
seize  this  flame  and  concentrate  it  by  clear  thinking, 
make  the  art  of  such  thinking  your  very  own  and  you  will 
have  added  unto  you  the  finest  equipment  of  man, 
which  is  character.  In  and  by  that  clear  thinking  main 
tain  the  source  of  the  eternal  bloom  of  youth  ;  however 
much  your  body  may  grow  old  or  your  knees  tremble, 
your  mind  will  re-create  itself  in  ever-renewed  freshness, 
and  your  character  will  stand  fast  and  upright.  Embrace 
at  once  the  opportunity  that  here  presents  itself  to  you  ; 
think  clearly  over  the  subject  that  is  proffered  to  you  for 
reflection  ;  the  clearness  that  has  dawned  for  you  on 
this  one  point  will  gradually  spread  itself  over  all  the, 
others  too. 

222.  These  addresses  appeal  solemnly  to  you,  old  men. 
You  have  just  heard  what  people  think  of  you  ;  they  say 
it  to  your  face,  and  I,  the  speaker,  frankly  add  thereto  for 
myself  that,  with  regard  to  the  great  majority  among 
you,  apart  from  the  exceptions  which  are  undoubtedly 
not  rare  and  which  are  all  the  more  worthy  of  honour, 
what  people  say  is  entirely  justified.  Go  through  the 
history  of  the  last  two  or  three  decades ;  everyone  except 
you  yourselves  is  agreed  (and  even  among  yourselves 
each  one  is  agreed  except  as  regards  the  special  branch 
with  which  he  himself  is  concerned)  that,  always  apart 
from  the  exceptions  and  with  reference  only  to  the  majority, 
in  every  branch,  in  science  as  well  as  in  the  affairs  of  life, 
more  inefficiency  and  selfishness  was  found  among  the 
older  men  than  anywhere  else.  The  whole  contemporary 
world  looked  on  and  saw  how  every  man  that  wished  for 
a  better  and  more  perfect  state  of  things  had  to  fight,  not 
only  against  his  own  lack  of  clearness  and  his  other 
environment — his  greatest  fight  was  against  you  ;  the 
world  saw  that  you  had  firmly  resolved  that  nothing  must 



come  to  the  front  which  you  had  not  known  about  or 
done,  that  you  regarded  every  stirring  of  thought  as  an 
insult  to  your  intelligence,  and  that  you  left  no  power 
unused  by  which  you  might  become  the  victors  in  this 
fight  against  the  better,  as  indeed  you  were  generally 
the  victors.  Thus,  you  were  the  force  which  held  up 
all  the  improvements  which  kindly  nature  offered  to  us 
from  her  ever-youthful  lap,  until  you  were  gathered  to 
the  dust  (dust  that  you  were  already  !),  and  the  younger 
generation  in  the  war  with  you  had  become  like  you  and 
took  over  your  old  way  of  administration.  You  only 
need  to  act  now  as  you  have  hitherto  acted  in  regard  to 
all  proposals  for  improvement  ;  you  only  need  to  put 
higher  than  the  common  weal  your  vanity  in  regarding 
it  as  a  point  of  honour  that  there  shall  be  nothing  under 
heaven  that  you  have  not  already  discovered  ;  then,  by 
this  last  fight  you  will  be  spared  any  further  fighting  ; 
no  improvement  will  take  place,  but  deterioration  will 
follow  on  deterioration,  so  that  you  will  still  have  many 
an  occasion  to  rejoice. 

I  do  not  want  you  to  think  that  I  despise  old  age  as 
such,  or  run  it  down.  If  only  the  source  of  original  life 
and  of  its  continued  movement  has  by  means  of  freedom 
been  taken  up  into  life,  clearness  grows,  and  power  with 
it,  so  long  as  life  lasts.  Such  a  life  becomes  better  as  it 
is  lived,  the  clay  of  its  earthly  origin  falling  away  more  and 
more  ;  it  ennobles  itself  and  reaches  upwards  towards 
eternal  life  and  blossoms  out  to  meet  it.  In  such  a  life 
experience  does  not  reconcile  itself  to  evil,  but  only 
makes  clearer  the  means,  and  brings  more  skill  in  the  art, 
of  fighting  evil  triumphantly.  For  the  deterioration  due 
to  increasing  age,  the  times  we  live  in  are  solely  to  blame  ; 
such  deterioration  must  be  the  result  wherever  society 
is  very  corrupt.  It  is  not  nature  that  corrupts  us ;  nature 


creates  us  in  innocence ;  society  corrupts  us.  He  who  once 
surrenders  himself  to  its  influence  must  in  the  nature 
of  things  become  worse  and  worse,  the  longer  he  is 
exposed  to  this  influence.  It  would  be  worth  while 
to  examine  from  this  point  of  view  the  history  of  other 
ages  that  have  been  very  corrupt,  and  to  see,  for  example, 
whether  under  the  government  of  the  Roman  emperors 
what  was  bad  did  not  become  worse  and  worse  with 
increasing  age. 

So,  among  you  old  men  and  men  of  experience  it  is 
first  to  those  who  form  the  exception  that  these  addresses 
solemnly  appeal.  Support,  strengthen,  and  give  counsel 
in  this  matter  to  the  younger  generation  who  reverently 
direct  their  gaze  towards  you.  But  to  you  others  who 
form  the  majority  the  solemn  appeal  of  these  addresses 
is  this  :  you  are  not  asked  to  help,  but  just  for  this  once 
do  not  interfere  ;  do  not  put  yourselves  in  the  way,  as 
you  have  always  done  hitherto,  with  your  wisdom  and 
your  thousand  grave  objections.  This  matter,  like  every 
other  matter  of  reason  in  the  world,  has  not  a  thousand 
aspects,  but  only  one ;  and  that  is  one  of  the  thousand 
things  you  do  not  know.  If  your  wisdom  could  bring 
salvation,  it  would  have  saved  us  before  this,  for  it  is  you 
who  have  advised  us  hitherto.  That  is  now,  like  every 
thing  else,  in  vain,  and  shall  not  be  brought  up  against 
you  any  more.  But  learn  at  long  last  to  know  yourselves, 
and  be  silent. 

223.  These  addresses  appeal  solemnly  to  you,  men  of 
business.  With  few  exceptions  you  have  hitherto  been 
at  heart  hostile  to  abstract  thought,  and  to  every  science 
that  wished  to  be  something  for  its  own  sake,  although  you 
put  on  an  air  of  superiority  and  treated  all  that  sort  of 
thing  with  contempt.  You  kept  the  men  who  pursued 
such  subjects,  and  the  proposals  they  made,  as  far  from 


you  as  you  possibly  could  ;  to  be  called  lunatics,  or 
advised  to  betake  themselves  to  a  madhouse,  was  the 
thanks  they  could  most  generally  reckon  on  getting  from 
you.  They  for  their  part  did  not  dare  to  express  them 
selves  about  you  with  the  same  frankness,  because  they 
were  dependent  on  you  ;  but,  in  their  inmost  hearts,  their 
true  opinion  of  you  was  this,  that  with  few  exceptions 
you  are  shallow  babblers  and  puffed-up  braggarts,  half- 
educated  men  who  merely  ran  through  a  course  at  school, 
blind  men  who  have  to  feel  their  way  and  creep  along  in 
the  old  groove,  and  who  neither  want  nor  are  capable  of 
anything  else.  By  your  actions  convict  them  of  lying. 
For  this  purpose  seize  the  opportunity  now  offered  to 
you  ;  lay  aside  your  contempt  of  profound  thought  and 
science  ;  let  yourselves  be  told  what  you  do  not  know, 
then  listen  and  learn  ;  otherwise  your  accusers  will  carry 
their  point. 

224.  These  addresses  appeal  solemnly  to  you,  thinkers, 
scholars,  and  men  of  letters,  to  such  of  you  as  are  still 
worthy  of  the  name.  The  reproach  that  men  of  affairs 
brought  against  you  was  in  a  certain  sense  not  unjust. 
Often  you  went  on  in  the  sphere  of  pure  thought  too 
unconcernedly,  without  troubling  yourselves  about  the 
actual  world,  or  trying  to  find  out  how  the  two  might  be 
brought  into  connection  ;  you  described  your  own  world, 
and  left  the  actual  one  too  much  alone,  despising  and 
scorning  it.  It  is  true  that  all  regulation  and  formation 
of  actual  life  must  proceed  from  a  higher  regulating  idea, 
and  that  going  along  in  the  accustomed  way  is  not  enough  ; 
that  is  an  eternal  truth,  and  in  God's  name  crushes  with 
unconcealed  contempt  everyone  who  dares  to  occupy  him 
self  with  affairs  without  knowing  this.  Nevertheless, 
between  the  idea  and  the  act  of  introducing  it  into  every 
separate  form  of  life  there  lies  a  great  gulf.  To  fill  up 


this  gulf  is  not  only  the  work  of  the  man  of  affairs,  who 
indeed  must  previously  have  learnt  enough  to  be  able 
to  understand  you,  but  the  work  also  of  you,  who  in  the 
world  of  thought  must  not  forget  life.  At  this  point 
both  of  you  meet.  Instead  of  looking  askance  at  each 
other  across  the  gulf  and  depreciating  each  other,  rather 
let  each  party  be  zealous  to  fill  up  the  gulf  from  his  side 
and  so  pave  the  way  to  union.  Finally,  comprehend 
that  both  of  you  are  as  necessary  to  each  other  as  head 
and  arm  are  necessary  to  each  other. 

These  addresses  appeal  solemnly  in  other  respects  as  well 
to  you,  thinkers,  scholars,  and  men  of  letters,  to  such  of  you 
as  are  still  worthy  of  the  name.  Your  complaints  about 
the  general  shallowness,  thoughtlessness,  and  vagueness, 
about  conceitedness  and  the  inexhaustible  flow  of  idle 
chatter,  about  the  contempt  for  seriousness  and  thorough 
ness  that  prevail  in  all  classes,  may  be  true,  as  indeed  they 
are.  But  then,  what  class  is  it  which  has  brought  up  all 
these  classes,  which  has  turned  everything  scientific  into 
a  game  for  them,  and  has  trained  them  from  their  earliest 
youth  to  that  conceitedness  and  idle  chatter  ?  Who  is  it 
that  continues  to  instruct  the  generations  that  have  left 
school  ?  The  most  obvious  cause  of  the  stupidity  of  the 
age  is  that  it  has  read  itself  stupid  with  the  works  which 
you  have  written.  Why  do  you,  nevertheless,  continue 
to  make  it  your  business  to  keep  such  indolent  people 
entertained,  regardless  of  the  fact  that  they  have  learnt 
nothing  and  want  to  learn  nothing  ?  Why  do  you  call 
them  "  the  public,"  flatter  them  by  making  them  your 
judges,  set  them  on  against  your  rivals,  and  seek  by  every 
means  to  win  over  this  blind  and  confused  mob  to  your 
side  ?  Finally,  why  do  you  give  them,  even  in  your 
reviewing  establishments  and  journals,  not  only  the 
material,  but  also  the  model  for  their  hasty  judgments,  by 


delivering  judgment  yourselves  as  the  fancy  seizes  you, 
without  any  connecting  principle  and  usually  without 
taste,  in  a  way  that  the  meanest  of  your  readers  could 
equal  ?  If  you  do  not  all  think  like  this,  if  even  yet  there 
are  better-disposed  writers  among  you,  why  do  they  not 
unite  to  put  an  end  to  the  evil  ?  Especially  with  refer 
ence  to  our  men  of  business  ;  they  ran  through  a  course 
at  school  under  you  ;  you  say  it  yourselves.  Why  did 
you  not  make  use  of  the  time  they  spent  with  you  to  instil 
into  them  at  any  rate  some  silent  respect  for  the  sciences, 
and  especially  to  shatter  betimes  the  conceit  of  high-born 
youths  and  to  show  them  that,  when  it  comes  to  thinking, 
neither  rank  nor  birth  are  of  any  avail  ?  If  perchance 
even  at  that  time  you  flattered  them  and  gave  them 
prominence  beyond  their  merits,  you  must  now  bear  the 
burden  of  what  you  yourselves  have  created. 

They  are  willing  to  pardon  you,  these  addresses,  on 
the  assumption  that  you  had  not  grasped  the  importance 
of  your  business  ;  they  solemnly  appeal  to  you  to  make 
yourselves  acquainted  from  this  very  hour  with  its  impor 
tance,  and  no  longer  to  carry  it  on  as  if  it  were  merely  a 
trade.  Learn  to  respect  yourselves,  show  by  your  actions 
that  you  do  so,  and  the  world  will  respect  you.  The  first 
proof  of  it  you  will  give  by  the  influence  you  yourselves 
exert  on  the  resolution  that  is  here  proposed,  and  by  the 
way  in  which  you  conduct  yourselves  in  connection 

225.  These  addresses  appeal  solemnly  to  you,  princes 
of  Germany.  Those  who  in  their  dealings  with  you  act 
as  if  no  one  ought  to  say  anything  whatever  to  you,  or 
could  have  occasion  to  say  anything,  are  contemptible 
flatterers ;  they  wickedly  slander  you  and  no  one  else  ; 
put  them  far  from  you.  The  truth  is  that  you  are  born 
just  as  ignorant  as  all  the  rest  of  us,  and  that  you  must 


listen  and  learn  just  as  we  must,  if  you  are  to  emerge  from 
this  state  of  natural  ignorance.  Your  share  in  bringing 
about  the  fate  that  has  befallen  you  together  with  your 
peoples  has  been  stated  here  in  the  mildest  and,  we 
believe,  the  only  just  and  equitable  way  ;  and  unless  you 
are  willing  to  listen  to  flattery  only,  but  never  to  the 
truth,  you  can  have  no  complaint  to  make  against  these 
addresses.  Let  all  this  be  forgotten,  in  the  same  way  that 
all  the  rest  of  us  wish  that  our  share  of  the  blame  may  be 
forgotten.  For  you  too,  as  for  all  of  us,  a  new  life  now 
begins.  O,  that  this  voice  of  mine  might  penetrate  to 
you  through  the  whole  environment  which  is  wont  to 
make  you  inaccessible  !  With  proud  self-reliance  it  may 
say  to  you  :  you  rule  over  peoples  more  loyal,  more  docile, 
more  worthy  of  happiness  than  any  princes  have  ever 
ruled  over  in  any  age  or  any  nation.  They  have  a  sense 
of  freedom  and  a  capacity  for  it  ;  but  they  followed  you 
into  a  bloody  war  against  what  seemed  to  them  freedom, 
because  you  willed  it.  Some  among  you  willed  otherwise 
later,  and  they  followed  you  into  what  must  have  seemed 
to  them  a  war  of  extirpation  against  one  of  the  last 
remnants  of  German  independence  and  autonomy,  again 
because  you  willed  it  so.  Since  then  they  have  been  bearing 
and  enduring  the  oppressive  burden  of  our  common  woes ; 
and  they  cease  not  to  be  loyal  to  you,  to  cleave  to  you 
with  intense  devotion,  and  to  love  you  as  their  divinely 
appointed  guardians.  If  you  could  only  observe  them 
without  their  knowing  it ;  if  you  could  only  escape  from 
that  environment,  which  does  not  always  present  the 
loveliest  aspect  of  humanity  to  you,  and  descend  into  the 
houses  of  the  citizen  and  the  cottages  of  the  peasant, 
there  to  follow  and  reflect  upon  the  quiet  and  secluded 
life  of  these  classes  of  society,  with  whom  the  qualities 
of  loyalty  and  uprightness,  so  rare  now  among  the  upper 


classes,  seem  to  have  taken  refuge  ;  O,  then,  beyond  a 
doubt  you  would  be  filled  with  a  resolve  to  think  more 
earnestly  than  ever  how  help  might  be  brought  to  them. 
These  addresses  have  suggested  to  you  a  means  of  help 
which  they  deem  certain,  thoroughgoing,  and  decisive. 
Let  your  counsellors  take  counsel  among  themselves  as 
to  whether  they  too  are  of  this  opinion,  or  whether  they 
know  a  better  means  ;  only  it  must  be  equally  decisive. 
But  the  conviction  that  something  must  happen,  and  must 
happen  without  delay,  and  that  something  thorough 
going  and  decisive  must  happen,  and  that  the  time  for 
half-measures  and  temporary  expedients  is  over,  this 
conviction  I  would  have  these  addresses  bring  forth  in 
you  yourselves,  if  they  can,  seeing  that  they  still  have 
the  greatest  confidence  in  your  uprightness. 

226.  To  all  you  Germans,  whatever  position  you  may 
occupy  in  society,  these  addresses  solemnly  appeal ;    let 
every  one  of  you,  who  can  think,  think  first  of  all  about 
the    subject    here    suggested,    and    let    each    do    for    it 
what   lies   nearest   to    him   individually  in   the    position 
he  occupies. 

227.  Your    forefathers    unite    themselves    with    these 
addresses,  and  make  a  solemn  appeal  to  you.     Think  that 
in  my  voice  there  are  mingled  the  voices  of  your  ancestors 
of  the  hoary  past,  who  with  their  own  bodies  stemmed 
the  onrush  of  Roman  world-dominion,  who  with  their 
blood  won  the  independence  of  those  mountains,  plains, 
and  rivers  which  under  you  have  fallen  a  prey  to  the 
foreigner.     They  call    to    you  :     "  Act  for  us ;    let   the 
memory  of  us  which  you  hand  on  to  posterity  be  just 
as  honourable  and  without  reproach  as  it  was  when  it 
came  to  you,   when  you  took  pride  in  it   and  in  your 
descent  from  us.     Until  now,  the  resistance  we  made  has 
been  regarded  as  great  and  wise  and  noble  ;    we  seemed 


the  consecrated  and  the  inspired  in  the  divine  world- 
purpose.  If  our  race  dies  out  with  you,  our  honour  will 
be  turned  to  shame  and  our  wisdom  to  foolishness. 
Fof  if,  indeed,  the  German  stock  is  to  be  swallowed  up  in 
Roman  civilization,  it  were  better  that  it  had  fallen  before 
the  Rome  of  old  than  before  a  Rome  of  to-day.  The 
former  we  resisted  and  conquered  ;  by  the  latter  you 
have  been  ground  to  dust.  Seeing  that  this  is  so,  you 
shall  now  not  conquer  them  with  temporal  weapons  ; 
your  spirit  alone  shall  rise  up  against  them  and  stand 
erect.  To  you  has  fallen  the  greater  destiny,  to  found 
the  empire  of  the  spirit  and  of  reason,  and  completely  to 
annihilate  the  rule  of  brute  physical  force  in  the  world. 
If  you  do  this,  then  you  are  worthy  of  your  descent  from 


228.  Then,  too,  there  mingle  with  these  voices  the 
spirits  of  your  more  recent  forefathers,  those  who  fell  in 
the  holy  war  for  the  freedom  of  belief  and  of  religion. 
"  Save  our  honour  too,"  they  cry  to  you.  "  To  us  it 
was  not  entirely  clear  what  we  fought  for  ;  besides  the 
lawful  resolve  not  to  let  ourselves  be  dictated  to  by  exter 
nal  force  in  matters  of  conscience,  there  was  another 
and  a  higher  spirit  driving  us,  which  never  fully  revealed 
itself  to  us.  To  you  it  is  revealed,  this  spirit,  if  you  have 
the  power  of  vision  in  the  spiritual  world  ;  it  beholds  you 
with  eyes  clear  and  sublime.  The  varied  and  confused 
mixture  of  sensuous  and  spiritual  motives  that  has  hitherto 
ruled  the  world  shall  be  displaced,  and  spirit  alone,  pure 
and  freed  from  all  sensuous  motives,  shall  take  the  helm  of 
human  affairs.  It  was  in  order  that  this  spirit  might 
have  freedom  to  develop  and  grow  to  independent 
existence — it  was  for  this  that  we  poured  forth  our  blood. 
It  is  for  you  to  justify  and  give  meaning  to  our  sacrifice, 
by  setting  this  spirit  to  fulfil  its  purpose  and  to  rule  the 


world.  If  this  does  not  come  about  as  the  final  goal  to 
which  the  whole  previous  development  of  our  nation  has 
been  tending,  then  the  battles  we  fought  will  turn  out 
to  be  a  vain  and  fleeting  farce,  and  the  freedom  of 
conscience  and  of  spirit  that  we  won  is  a  vain  word, 
if  from  now  onwards  spirit  and  conscience  are  to  be  no 


229.  There  comes  a  solemn  appeal  to  you  from  your 
descendants  not  yet  born.     "  You  boast  of  your  fore 
fathers,"  they  cry  to  you,  "  and  link  yourselves  with  pride 
to   a   noble   line.     Take   care   that   the   chain   does   not 
break  off  with  you  ;    see  to  it  that  we,  too,  may  boast  of 
you  and  use  you  as  an  unsullied  link  to  connect  ourselves 
with  the  same  illustrious  line.     Do  not  force  us  to  be 
ashamed   of   our    descent    from   you    as   from    base    and 
slavish   barbarians  ;    do    not    compel  us    to    conceal   our 
origin,  or  to  fabricate  a  strange  one  and  to  take  a  strange 
name,  lest  we  be  at  once  and  without  further  examina 
tion    rejected    and    trodden    underfoot.     As    the    next 
generation   that    proceeds    from   you    turns   out    to   be, 
so  will  your   reputation  be   in   history  ;    honourable,  if 
they  bear  honourable  witness  for  you,   but  disgraceful 
even  beyond  your  due,  if  your  descendants  may  not  speak 
for  you,  and  the  conqueror  makes  your  history.     Never 
yet  has  a  conqueror  had  sufficient  inclination  or  sufficient 
knowledge  to  judge  the  conquered  justly.     The  more 
he  depreciates  them,  the  more  just  does  he  himself  stand 
out.     Who  can  know  what  great  deeds,  what  excellent 
institutions,  what  noble  customs  of  many  a  people  in  the 
ancient  world  have  fallen  into  oblivion,   because  their 
descendants    were    forced    under    the    yoke,    while    the 
conqueror  wrote   an   account   of   them   that   suited  his 
purpose,  and  there  was  none  to  contradict  him  !  " 

230.  A  solemn  appeal  comes  to  you  even  from  foreign 


countries,  in  so  far  as  they  still  understand  themselves 
even  to  the  slightest  extent,  and  still  have  an  eye  for 
their  true  advantage.  Yea,  in  all  nations  there  are  still 
some  souls  who  cannot  even  yet  believe  that  the  great 
promises  of  a  realm  of  justice,  reason,  and  truth  for 
the  human  race  are  vain  and  naught  but  a  baseless  delu-  i 
sion,  and  who,  therefore,  assume  that  the  present  age  of 
iron  is  but  a  transition  to  a  better  state.  These  souls, 
and  in  them  the  whole  of  modern  humanity,  count  upon 
you.  A  large  part  of  modern  humanity  is  descended  • 
from  us,  and  the  rest  have  received  from  us  their  religion  i 
and  all  their  civilization.  The  former  solemnly  appeal 
to  us  by  the  soil  of  our  common  fatherland,  which  was 
their  cradle,  too,  and  which  they  have  left  free  for  us, 
the  latter  by  the  culture  they  have  received  from  us  as 
the  pledge  of  a  loftier  bliss — both  appeal  to  us  to  preserve 
ourselves  for  them  too  and  for  their  sake,  just  as  we  have 
always  been,  and  not  to  let  the  whole  organism  of  the  new 
race  that  has  arisen  be  violently  deprived  of  this  member 
so  important  to  it  ;  so  that,  when  they  come  to  need  our 
counsel,  our  example,  and  our  co-operation  in  striving 
towards  the  true  goal  of  earthly  life,  they  will  not  miss  us, 
to  their  pain. 

231.  All  ages,  all  wise  and  good  men  who  have  ever 
breathed  upon  this  earth,  all  their  thoughts  and  intuitions 
of  something  loftier,  mingle  with  these  voices  and  sur 
round  you  and  lift  up  imploring  hands  to  you  ;  even,  if 
one  may  say  so,  providence  and  the  divine  plan  in  creat 
ing  a  race  of  men,  a  plan  which  exists  only  to  be  thought 
out  by  men  and  to  be  brought  by  men  into  the  actual 
world — the  divine  plan,  I  say,  solemnly  appeals  to  you 
to  save  its  honour  and  its  existence.  Whether  those  were 
right  who  believed  that  mankind  must  always  grow 
better,  and  that  thoughts  of  a  true  order  and  worth  of  man 


were  no  idle  dreams,  but  the  prophecy  and  pledge  of  the 
real  world  that  is  to  be — whether  they  are  to  be  proved 
right,  or  those  who  continue  to  slumber  in  an  animal  and 
vegetable  existence  and  mock  at  every  flight  into  higher 
worlds — to  give  a  final  and  decisive  judgment  on  this 
point  is  a  work  for  you.  The  old  world  with  its  glory 
and  its  greatness,  as  well  as  its  defects,  has  fallen  by  its 
own  unworthiness  and  by  the  violence  of  your  fathers. 
If  there  is  truth  in  what  has  been  expounded  in  these 
addresses,  then  are  you  of  all  modern  peoples  the  one  in 
whom  the  seed  of  human  perfection  most  unmistakably 
lies,  and  to  whom  the  lead  in  its  development  is  committed. 
If  you  perish  in  this  your  essential  nature,  then  there 
perishes  together  with  you  every  hope  of  the  whole 
human  race  for  salvation  from  the  depths  of  its  miseries. 
Do  not  console  yourselves  with  an  opinion  based  on  thin 
air  and  depending  on  the  mere  recurrence  of  cases  that 
have  already  happened  ;  do  not  hope  that  when  the  old 
civilization  has  fallen  a  new  one  will  arise  once  more 
out  of  a  semi-barbarous  nation  on  the  ruins  of  the  first. 
In  ancient  times  there  was  such  a  people  in  existence, 
equipped  with  every  requirement  for  such  a  destiny  and 
quite  well  known  to  the  civilized  people,  who  have  left 
us  their  description  of  it  ;  and  they  themselves,  if  they 
had  been  able  to  imagine  their  own  downfall,  would  have 
been  able  to  discover  in  this  people  the  means  of  recon 
struction.  To  us  also  the  whole  surface  of  the  globe  is 
quite  well  known  and  all  the  peoples  that  dwell  thereon. 
But  do  we  know  a  people  akin  to  the  ancestral  stock  of 
the  modern  world,  of  whom  we  may  have  the  same 
expectation  ?  I  think  that  everyone  who  does  not  merely 
base  his  hopes  and  beliefs  on  idle  dreaming,  but  investi 
gates  thoroughly  and  thinks,  will  be  bound  to  answer  this 
question  with  a  NO.  There  is,  therefore,  no  way  out ; 


if  you  go  under,  all  humanity  goes  under  with  you,  with 
out  hope  of  any  future  restoration. 

This  it  was,  gentlemen,  which  at  the  end  of  these 
addresses  I  wanted  and  was  bound  to  impress  upon  you, 
who  to  me  are  the  representatives  of  the  nation,  and 
through  you  upon  the  whole  nation. 




MAR  22  197? 

DD  Fichte,   Johann  Gottlieb 

199  Addresses   to  the  German 

F533  nation